Beneath the Hard Hat
C.D. Smith Company Blog

Fastenal taps team behind LaX projects

Date: Jun 24, 2019 2:29:00 PM | Author: Nikki Blatz
  • Fastenal

Fastenal aims to start construction by April 2020 on riverfront office complex

Article from the Winona Post
By Chris Rogers | Published Jun 24, 2019


In the coming months, Fastenal will begin designing its 400-600-employee office building on the riverfront in downtown Winona. Fastenal announced this week that it selected The Kubala Washatko Architects (TKWA) and CD Smith Construction, both based in Wisconsin, as the project’s architectural firm and general contractor, respectively.

The two companies were involved in major, recent development projects in downtown La Crosse, Wis. CD Smith Construction built the Pine Street Ramp and the Riverside Center, a parking ramp and commercial complex in downtown La Crosse, as well as a host of corporate headquarters in Milwaukee and Fond du Lac, Wis. TKWA designed The Charmant Hotel and the Belle Square, a mixed-use building in downtown La Crosse.

“We are very excited to be able to work with this great team on what we know will be another key project for the city and the Opportunity Winona effort,” Fastenal President and CEO Dan Florness said in a statement. Opportunity Winona is a brand the city of Winona and Winona Area Chamber of Commerce gave to their efforts to promote major development projects in downtown Winona. “TKWA and CD Smith have worked together on several high-profile projects that have helped transform parts of La Crosse,” Florness continued. “They will bring this same energy and creativity to what we know will be an important addition to the downtown and a great place for our employees to work.”

Fastenal Vice President of Corporate Real Estate Dana Johnson said he expects construction will begin by April 1, 2020, and hopefully be completed 11 months later. Johnson stated that there are no designs or conceptual drawings of the facility yet, but Fastenal officials reported that the office complex will occupy a full city block and be designed to compliment Winona’s historic downtown. “Those are the three questions that everybody asks … What’s it going to look like? What’s it going to cost? And when is it going to be done?” Johnson said. “None of those things have been locked down, yet.” Fastenal has a budget for the project, but the company is not publicly disclosing it, Johnson stated.

Buildings just east of the interstate bridge on Second Street were demolished this spring to clear the way for the project.

“We will do all the parking that we can onsite,” Johnson reported, adding that Fastenal still plans to demolish the current YMCA building to provide additional parking for the office complex. Fastenal has an agreement to purchase the Y’s current building once the organization finishes its planned new facility at Winona Health. City code does not require downtown commercial properties to provide any off-street parking for their employees, but Fastenal officials said providing parking is important to the company. When Fastenal and city officials announced Fastenal’s plan for the riverfront office last summer, they discussed a possible public-private partnership between the city and Fastenal to provide parking. Johnson said Fastenal is still interested in that idea, but there are no concrete plans yet. “We would love to explore that. [Winona Economic Development Director Lucy McMartin] and I talk about that. I know the county has talked about it. You’ve got the county, the city, and private [business], it’d be great to do a three-P partnership,” Johnson said, referring to a public-private partnership. A public-private partnership is a project in which governments and private companies both invest funding.

This winter, the city of Winona’s Port Authority Commission voted to approve paperwork to potentially grant Fastenal’s riverfront office project tax increment financing (TIF). TIF is a kind of tax break in which property taxes on the new real estate value a development creates are used to help pay back construction loans. Once the loans are paid off, the property taxes are distributed to local governments as usual. TIF was designed to help finance projects that would not otherwise be financially feasible. City officials stated that Fastenal did not ask for TIF, but that they wanted to keep the option open to offer it. Johnson is a member of the Port Authority Commission, but he was absent from the meeting when the group approved the potential TIF.

Asked last week if Fastenal was interested in TIF, Johnson said he has talked some with McMartin about potential city financial assistance, but Fastenal is still exploring the idea. “I think as a community development tool, it’s a great option to have,” Johnson said. “Absolutely we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to put this building in a TIF district and fund something good for the community.” He added, “We hope to bring 600 people to downtown to spur economic growth.”

“Our vision is to create space that supports changes in how people work in an office environment while also making sure we create a building that fits into the historic nature of downtown Winona,” Florness said in a statement. “We talked to a number of different companies about our project and the opportunity. As we went through this process, we were impressed by the work TKWA and CD Smith did in La Crosse working with Don Weber and his team on several projects that made a real impact on the community. We know they are the people to help us do the same thing here in Winona.”

Weber is the founder and CEO of La Crosse-based Logistics Health Incorporated (LHI). He invested in many of the major development projects in downtown La Crosse in recent years, including several on which CD Smith and TKWA worked. 

“This is a chance for our team to help Fastenal create a facility for its growing team while also building on the energy of other projects and development happening in the downtown area,” TKWA Partner Matt Frydach said of the Winona project in a statement. “Our experience working together with CD Smith in other river cities gives us a unique perspective to help design and create dynamic projects. Being able to help Fastenal develop an entire city block of riverfront property is a unique opportunity and an important responsibility.”

Johnson said Fastenal leaders have not yet decided what departments would be housed in the new office building.


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