A business deal on Monday will put the ownership of the La Crosse Tribune building in new hands.
Cliff LeCleir said conversations about him purchasing the building started three years ago, but staff was still printing the newspaper in La Crosse. Those discussions heated up in earnest in August once the Tribune stopped printing in the city and switched to Madison.
“The motivation really has been done in prayer, and that is not usually what you hear in business development,” LeCleir said. “We are interested in contributing to the success of the downtown, and we are excited about the things that have happened with the other developments. I have been earnestly praying as to what part I should have in that.”
LeCleir owns most of the surrounding area. He has put in a Hampton Inn and Suites and owns vacant area behind the Tribune.
“This rounds out the control of two city blocks, and two crucial blocks where three entries to La Crosse converge right at that point,” LeCleir said. “It is an important piece of property. In discussions with the city, they are very interested in what develops there because it is a focal point.”
Le Cleir said he is looking into what the market needs and will conduct a feasibility study as well as speak with architects and people interested in locating to that area.
“We are not going to be putting a shovel in the ground until we have tenants committed to the plan that we ultimately come up with,” LeCleir said.
The Tribune has been located at 401 N. Third St. since 1973.