Janesville Woodman's ice arena and convention center

JANESVILLE — The Janesville City Council on Monday approved a $39 million construction contract for the long-proposed ice arena and convention center to be built on the site of the former Sears store at the Uptown Janesville Mall.

The council voted to approve the contract by a vote of 5-2.

Council members Paul Benson, Dave Marshick, Aaron Burdick, Michael Jackson and Richard Neeno voted to approve.

Paul Williams and Heather Miller voted no.

An earlier vote to postpone approval of three funding contracts also failed 5-2.

The winning bid from JP Cullen is only for the construction costs of the project and does not include fixtures, furniture and equipment, soft costs, and contingency.

JP Cullen’s bid came in under budget, dropping the expected total cast to $46.7 million from an earlier estimate of $50.3 million.

According to an estimate provided by the city in 2022, the owner of a $150,000 home in Janesville would pay under $40 extra per year in property taxes.

The city had originally committed to $17.3 million of taxpayer funding, but that dropped to $15.3 million based on the construction bid coming in under budget.

A special council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 1, 2024, to discuss specific options for funding the city’s contribution.

The facility, which will be known as the Woodman’s Sports and Convention Center, will include a two-sheet ice arena, whose main tenant will be the Janesville Jets, a convention center and a multi-use area.

Demolition is expected to begin sometime in February or March 2024, with construction substantially complete in May 2025 and occupancy in July 2025.