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New Water Street mixed-use building named for local business owners

A new mixed-use building at 222 Water St. in Eau Claire has been named for three local individuals in recognition of their gifts of more than $1 million in support of people, programs and facilities at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Named Aspenson Mogensen Hall in recognition of Eau Claire business owners John Mogensen, his daughter Michelle Mogensen and Lisa Aspenson, the new facility will house UW-Eau Claire students in apartments on its top three floors beginning this fall. Retail and office businesses will be located on the first floor.

In late 2016, the Blugold Real Estate Foundation, a supporting organization of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, partnered with Mogensen, Aspenson and Investment Realty, a company owned by Mogensen, on the 222 Water St. project.

“Our collective goal was to build safe, secure student housing in close proximity to campus,” said Kimera Way, Blugold Real Estate executive director. “This is in response to the university’s chronic housing shortage and the anticipated renovations of existing campus housing, creating a need for overflow housing.”

The partners formed a condominium association and agreed that Blugold Real Estate would own the student housing floors, while Lisa Aspenson, Michelle Mogensen and John Mogensen would own the first floor, Way said.

John Mogensen, Aspenson and Mogensen’s daughter, Michelle Mogensen, have a long history of generosity in support of the university through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Before the partnership with Blugold Real Estate, they had provided an annual gift-in-kind by significantly discounting the lease price for the Water Street building (since razed) that housed the university’s Continuing Education department. Mogensen and Aspenson also have generously supported the university’s Martin Mogensen Education Lecture and Scholarship Fund, which was created in memory of Mogensen’s uncle.

Since 2002, Mogensen, Aspenson and their related companies had made outright cash gifts and gifts-in-kind to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation totaling nearly $400,000. In addition, they discounted Blugold Real Estate’s portion of the purchase price of the land at 222 Water St. The value of that gift is more than $600,000.

“When John, Lisa and Michelle approached us about partnering on the 222 Water Street project, we were thrilled to be able to collaborate, and we are grateful for their generosity,” Way said. “This really was a ‘must do’ project. It’s our hope that students who live in Aspenson Mogensen Hall will remain connected to the campus and that this housing setting will enhance their university experience.”

In late July, Blugold Real Estate signed an agreement for UW-Eau Claire’s Housing and Residence Life staff to provide services for students who live in the 222 Water St. apartments. Services will be consistent with those provided to students in on-campus university housing.

Construction of the housing portion of Aspenson Mogensen Hall is expected to be completed by Aug. 15. A total of 201 students will live in a mix of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments.

John Mogensen, Lisa Aspenson and Michelle Mogensen believe assisting UW-Eau Claire will make Eau Claire a better community to live in for generations to come and will continue to support the Blugold Real Estate Foundation as a lifetime investment.

“We have been involved with the university and its students for decades, so partnering with Blugold Real Estate on the student apartments was a natural evolution,” John Mogensen said. “We are pleased and humbled to be so recognized by the Foundation.”