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Formerly the SS Kresge dime store and more recently R&W Sporting Goods, this building was to become the Harry Schwartz book store. It comprised over 4,000 sq ft and featured a small coffee bar and deli. The former building was scheduled for demolition by the owners because the city had a fix or demolish order on it. But Matt Wagner, chief executive of the Downtown Racine Corporation at the time, saw a diamond in the rough and persuaded the folks that owned it to donate it to the DRC. Wagner then used his knowledge of historic tax credits to save the building and to get a buyer. Grand opening is scheduled for sometime late in 2000.

The completed project - Spring 2001

The new Johnson International headquarters will be built on this property across from Monument Square overlooking Lake Michigan. Eventually over 500 people will be employed in this $25 million development. Groundbreaking will occur soon with completion about 2 years away. This site was once home to the Inn On The Lake hotel and to the Venetian and Rialto theaters. Many Racine folks lament the loss of these two fine, vintage theaters but if they had been saved then this project would never have been built here.

The Johnson project as of 6/1/01.

The completed Johnson project.

This M&I Bank is part of a Wispark LLC development. It sits at the mouth of the Root River and was formerly the site of Lathrop Furnitures One Main Warehouse and before that it was home to Oster Manufacturing. This site is identified as one of three anchor sites in the Downtown Master Plan. The other sites are the Johnson Project shown above and the last site to be developed will be at the NE corner of Marquette and 6th.

Formerly home to the American Bank (once robbed by John Dilinger whose machine gun is housed in a glass display case at our police department) and later to the M&I bank, this building will soon become part of the Wustum Museum of the Arts. With completion of this project and the Heritage Museum at the east end of 6th St down by the lake, downtown will definitely become the Heart of the Arts in Racine.

The Wustum Museum as of 3/31/03. The Wustum Museum houses one of the finest collections of folk art in the U.S.

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©1995-2014 Michael Kristopeit