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Sunday, January 25, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 28.0° F  Overcast
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University Square grocery plan dealt setback

The grocery store proposed for University Square, expected to open in October, has been told by the city it doesn't qualify for the $1 million in tax incremental financing it wanted. But without financing, the grocery store probably won't happen, says Greg Rice, CEO of EMI, which owns the development.

"I need help," Rice says.

Joe Gromacki, Madison's TIF coordinator, says the project isn't big enough for TIF, a subsidy for projects financed by the future tax revenues they generate. "The project when it's developed doesn't add that much value," Gromacki says. "We'd need about a $10 million project" to qualify for $1 million in TIF.

The grocery store is expected to be a $3 million project, which would qualify for only about $190,000 in TIF money.

University Square - a $140 million complex on University Avenue that includes apartments, retail and restaurants - has already received $3 million in TIF funding. Jeff Maurer, former president of Pierce's Supermarkets, planned to operate the 18,000-square-foot grocery.

Rice still hopes to make the grocery store happen. "I need to visit [city staff] to see what other options I have to bridge the gap," he says. "I do think that area desperately needs a grocery."

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