Do You Have a Question About the Confluence Project?

You Have Questions – We Have Answers

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Opposition to the Confluence Project continues to state, “there are unanswered questions.” We continue to respond, “please, ask us your questions.” While the opposition is busy making statements, we are working to answers your questions. Following are two questions recently emailed to Community for the Confluence, and answered by Confluence Project developers Dan Clumpner, Principal, Commonweal Development Corp and Dan Market, CEO, Market & Johnson, Inc.:

Question: “All this material I read only ever talks about “the Developer”.  Who is this character exactly, and what are the projected returns “the Developer” will be expecting?”
– asked by Ryan O’Connor

Answer: “The Developer is Haymarket Concepts, LLC which is a special purpose entity created for the development of the Confluence Project. Its members are Blugold Real Estate, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, Market & Johnson and Commonweal Development. Haymarket has funded all project expenses to date including site acquisition, various studies, architectural design, legal and financial consultants.  While Haymarket, and only Haymarket, has all the risk associated with funding this work, its only financial expectation is that the entity be reimbursed for its project expenses and a nominal interest charge (3%/yr) for the advanced funds. The reimbursement would occur when the project is complete.

Blugold Real Estate’s involvement in this project is through the Foundation’s responsibility to provide benefit to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Given the university’s involvement in this project, Blugold Real Estate’s expectation is a finished project that will meet the university’s needs and to recoup its share of direct expenditures.

Like any other service provider or sub-contractor, Market & Johnson will be compensated for project management services. Their contract for the arts center will be subject to procurement rules of the State of Wisconsin and subject to audit upon completion. The construction delivery system and the contract form is essentially the same as was used for the Eau Claire County jail project. That project was completed on time and under budget. We seek similar results for this project as our budget will be finite and the schedule crucial.  The contract relationship with M&J on the mixed use building is the same as with the arts center, even though the State is not involved that project.

As with M&J, Commonweal expects to be compensated for their development services and will also be subject to State procurement rules, oversight and audit. A stakeholder who had a fiduciary responsibility to assure the reasonableness of Commonweal’s compensation sought an independent opinion from a national public accounting firm experienced with development contracts and private/public partnerships.  We were told that that firm confirmed that Commonweal’s compensation is less than what they would expect other developers to charge for similar services.

The developer’s motivation for this project is doing the right project for the community and for the university. The partners expect to be treated fairly; nothing more.”
– answered by Dan Clumpner, Principal, Commonweal Development Corp.

Question: “This looks like the buildings will be right on the river, what are the risks of flooding? I really would like a response before April 1st so I can make an informed decision.”
– asked by David Leifer

Answer: “Thank you for contacting us about your question as it relates to the potential flooding at the Confluence site. Hopefully I will be able to clarify for you what will transpire.

First let me state, where I state “flood plain” below, I am talking about the “100 year flood plain elevation”, which basically means the highest elevation we should expect to see water elevations approximately every 100 years.

Currently at the Confluence site a majority of the open parking area (the plaza area) is within the flood plan area. However, to give you a reference point, the southeast corner, right at the corner of Eau Claire Street and Graham Ave, this area is out of the flood plain.

In order to build on these sites we are obligated to first bring the current elevation up out of the flood plain, have FEMA come in and confirm that we have in fact brought the site out of the flood plain, and then we can begin construction on the foundations, lower parking areas and etc.

I can tell you that the actual floor of the parking garage will be below the flood plain elevation, but the entrance to get in that garage will be above the flood plain. We will be waterproofing the exterior walls of this area, installing drain tile and a pumping system around this foundation for the unlikely event that the water does get that high. This is typically completed on any major structure with parking below the ground elevation, many times simply to keep out ground water. But let me restate, the entrance to any lower parking area will safely be above flood plain elevation. All of the first floor elevations of the balance of the project will be well above the flood plain elevation as well.

To give you a real life example of what the above all means, the RCU and JAMF buildings sites were once within the flood plain area. Both sites we brought out of the flood plain prior to construction. Although RCU does not have any basement area, the JAMF building does have a partial basement, protected similar to what I described above. As an additional point of interest, all of the apartment buildings in the new Phoenix park area have parking below their structures, but again, the entrance is above the flood plain elevation.”
– answer by Dan Market, Market & Johnson, Inc.

We look forward to answering your questions about the Confluence Project.
Please email your questions to:
Ask your questions and be an informed voter on April 1st.

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