The RDA facilitates projects, both public and private, that add to the vitality and resilience of our community. We partner with private property owners through its Downtown Commercial Revolving Loan Program to help create high quality development in Watertown. In addition, the RDA seeks developers who are interested in pursuing new projects to revitalize the downtown.
14 E. Main Street
The Bank of Watertown was built on the corner of First and Main streets in 1854. The current structure was rebuilt in 1915. In 2019, after many years and many tenants, Dan and Maggie Wegner, Co-Owners of White Oaks Design & Build, purchased the building. Their intent is to restore the historical aspects of the building, taking it back to as original as possible.
"Watertown is doing a really great job. The RDA, the Mainstreet Program, everyone has been amazing. They are a great support and definitely a help when we need it."
- Maggie Wegner
Co-Owner, Creative Director
White Oaks Design & Build
314 E. Madison Street
Built in 1868, this 600 square foot building has had many owners. The most recent owner knocked out the back wall, put in a garage door, boarded up the windows, and used it to store a truck. There has not been a viable business in this space for five to seven years.
Dan Rahfaldt, owner/president of Deerfield Properties, purchased the building and remodeled it – putting in a small office, a restroom, and a retail showroom in front. He envisioned this space as being an "incubator for a business that wants to come to Watertown or a start-up to test an idea before making a larger investment," said Dan.
In July 2022, Wilder's Plants & More, a brand new, start-up business opened its doors at 314 E. Madison Street.
200 N. Second Street
In 1933, Powers Inn opened on the corner of Second and Madison streets. The building changed hands a few times but remained a restaurant – most recently under the name Elias Inn.
In 2022, Mike and Lydia Sobol, owners of Sobie's Restaurant in Oconomowoc, purchased the business. It was abundantly clear to the Sobol's that Elias Inn was very important to the Watertown community and evident how much people valued it.
Receiving an RDA loan and grant "helped us do it right in terms of restoration. We didn't have to cut corners because we had those extra funds…and it's always nice to do it right the first time."
- Mike and Lydia Sobol
111 S. Water Street
Riverhouse on the Rock is a mixed-use development located on prime waterfront land next to the Bentzin Family Town Square. The development consists of 91 market-rate apartments and approximately 2,800 square feet of retail space and potentially a restaurant that overlooks the Town Square to the North.
This development will be at the heart of a bustling activity center where residents can enjoy events in the Town Square, walk to boutique shops and restaurants found along the Main and side streets, launch a kayak, or bike the newly constructed Riverwalk.
415 E. Main Street
In August 2021, Misti Hawn received a loan and grant for the 415 E. Main Street property. Plans are to remove the "modernized" horizontal siding to expose the original façade and restore the windows. An old Miller beer mural on the west wall, discovered during the renovation, will be restored.
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“This project is a perfect example of the kind of investments the RDA makes to encourage reinvestment in under-utilized areas of the city. This project is truly a labor of love…not only bringing the building back to resemble its original façade but giving a gift of history to future generations.”
- Alex Allon, Executive Director
Watertown Redevelopment Authority
117 N. Second Street
Historical photos dating to 1879 show the building was occupied by Weltbürger Printing Office. In the early 1900s, it housed Neumann & Krueger Cigar Manufactury and later Art’s Shoe Service, John Klemann Music Shop, a number of realtors, and most recently law offices. In 2019, Deerfield Properties purchased the building. Renovations include a complete remodel of the main floor, the creation of two high-end apartments on the second floor, and an exterior facelift.
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“I am very, very thankful that the RDA exists. This is my second project with the RDA…the first project went so well. Without RDA low interest rate loans, projects would never be economically feasible, so they would not happen.”
- Dan Rahfaldt, Owner/President
300 E. Madison Street
Built in the 1890’s, this building was home to the William Kopfer Saloon. Prior to its purchase in 2020 by Fourth Corner LLC, the lower level (commercial space) had been vacant for 12 years. Former occupants include Ken’s Tap, Yangers Pub, and 5 Star Realty.
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“We could not have done this project without the RDA revolving loan. The RDA board was very supportive of the project and shared our vision for revitalizing this property. Upon approval, loan funds were distributed very quickly allowing us to keep pace with contractor availability.We are very thankful to the RDA and the revolving loan program they provide.”
- Bob Mudler, Owner
Fourth Corner, LLC