Lot C construction kicks off

Construction for the multimillion dollar complex began mid-April

After years of planning and negotiations, construction crews have finally broken ground on Lot C to begin work on an apartment, office and retail complex.

Before crews can start building up, they have to build down. For the last few days construction workers have been inserting 90 steel piles, which are like giant poles into the ground, to prevent cave-ins as they start construction.

For two days now, crews have been hard at work.

“We are ahead of schedule; kicking butt,” said John Schaefer, the equipment operator for Michels Foundation, said.

Crews have been tearing up the former La Crosse County parking lot to insert 30 foot-long steel poles, called piles.

“We basically drove out all the piling for this job out here, which was about 90-some pile, which is basically to hold back the shore or the earth when they start excavating in here,” Schaefer said. “The piling holds all of the sidewalks and roads, from caving in.”

Crews said putting in the piles and removing rubble and debris went very quickly thanks to good conditions.

“Awesome weather couldn’t ask for anything,” Schaefer said.

Early next week they’ll finish up securing the ground.

“Monday they’re going to come back here and the excavator is going to do some digging and they are going to install all the lagging board between each piling,” Schaefer said.

Once that is done, Michels Foundation will turn work back over to the general contractor of the Lot C project, C.D. Smith construction.

“It goes in phases. You know, I’ll do all the piling work and then another crew will come in and do all the lagging work; it’s just kind of so on and so on,” Schaefer said.

The next crews will begin digging out the entire parking lot, so they can begin pouring cement for the in ground parking structure.

Vine Street between 3rd and 4th streets and  along the La Crosse County Court House will be closed for about a year and a half during construction.

Parts of the Lot C development will be completed by June 2016, which includes the Associated Bank Space. The entire complex is expected to be done by 2020.