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New building approved for historic district in downtown La Crosse



Bob Good

A Jay Street lot in La Crosse, which has been empty since a fire a decade ago, could soon have a new building with a classic look.

Developer Kyle Olson received approval Thursday for his building project from the La Crosse Heritage Preservation Commission.

The panel said Olson’s four-story building would fit in well with the historic district downtown. Olson plans to have businesses on the first floor with fancy apartments above.

“It’s not a low-rent apartment,” Olson told the commission Thursday. “It’s going to be very upscale apartments. Kind of an upscale modern feel — little bit of flair, little bit of flash, little bit of a ‘Look at me.'”

There would be storefronts on the first floor, with “high-end” apartments on the upper floors. The project at 421 Jay Street would be built on the vacant lot where Optical Fashions burned to the ground because of a fire in July of 2011.

Tim Acklin of the city planning office said the brick and masonry design of the building would fit in with the much older buildings nearby but still look a bit modern.

“You don’t want it to look like it was built in the late 1800s, like the rest of the buildings,” Acklin said. “You want it to fit in, you want it to be complimentary. You want it to share a lot of architectural elements but ultimately still retain the fact that it is a new building and does have some modernness to it.”

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jer

    September 24, 2021 at 9:04 am

    For the record I am all for new business in the down town area. With that being said hopefully the city leaders in there ever knowing wisdom will take into consideration that there are other established business in a very close proximity that the new apartment building will no doubt have issue with. (the bar right across the ally) We have seen this before and it has been in court many times “324 Jay ST”. In closing, don’t complain if you don’t like the neighborhood that you move into after you are there, do your research and know what you are getting into. They were there first.

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