Bar/Taproom Project a Go on Sturgeon Bay’s West Waterfront

A bar/taproom with space for a deli and outdoor seating planned on Sturgeon Bay’s West Waterfront will be able to proceed following Common Council action last week.

Council members approved a pair of motions June 20 on behalf of what will be known as the Sturgeon Bay Terrace, which Peter Gentry of WWP Development now hopes to begin constructing in September and open next May. 

The project has been delayed during the past two years after the designed footprint for the two-story building had to be moved because American Transmission Company (ATC) located an underground high-voltage power line in a different area than where the city agreed to an easement for it near the Maple-Oregon Street Bridge.

This drawing shows what the Sturgeon Bay Terrace will look like next to the Maple-Oregon Street Bridge on the city’s West Waterfront. Submitted.

Because the power line is also routed under the Bay of Sturgeon Bay to an electrical substation on the city’s east side, city officials determined it was not practical to seek having the line removed and instead sought compensation from ATC related to shifting the building’s footprint to accommodate the power line and the easement where construction won’t be allowed.

The settlement agreement that the council approved calls for ATC to make a “new easement payment” of $231,950, of which $162,250 will go to WWP Development and $69,700 to the city for incurred losses. 

When calculating the reimbursements, city administrator Josh Van Lieshout said the developer-incurred costs to relocate the building were determined by the developer and his architect to be $111,750, and the city’s incurred expenses came to $10,000.

In addition, Van Lieshout said economic costs due to a reduction in buildable area and a loss of value of outdoor improvements – namely, seating – were calculated at another $50,500 for the developer, while the city’s estimated loss of tax incremental financing revenue and forgone tax revenue from the outdoor improvements came to another $59,700.

City administrator Josh Van Lieshout informs the Sturgeon Bay Common Council on June 20 about the settlement agreement the city has reached with American Transmission Company (ATC) related to ATC’s misrouting of a high-voltage power line underground along the West Waterfront. Photo by Kevin Boneske.

“What the settlement agreement does, it just basically lays out that all the satisfactions have been addressed, all the concerns have been addressed, [and] the city’s satisfied there aren’t any claims in relation to the location of the underground cable,” he said.

District 4 alderman Spencer Gustafson said the settlement agreement is a “great outcome” after the project was delayed.

“Hopefully the Gentrys can move forward with this wonderful project on the West Waterfront,” he said.

In addition to the power line’s location having prevented the project from proceeding, levels of methane found at the site required sending a methane-mitigation plan through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, for which WWP Development hired a consultant that the state agency approved.

Gentry – who is also the founder of One Barrel Brewing Company, which operates a taproom in Egg Harbor – said what he has gone through to be able to construct the Sturgeon Bay Terrace on the West Waterfront has made for a “stressful and challenging project.”

Though Gentry will be operating the bar/taproom, he said he is now looking for a tenant for the deli portion of the building.

Developer Stands to Receive $685,000 in Financial Incentives

The council also approved an amendment to the development agreement with WWP Development to include the amount of compensation from ATC as well as at least $215,000 in grant funds to the developer from a $250,000 community development investment (CDI) grant the city received. No more than $35,000 of the grant may be used for public parking.

Van Lieshout said the amendment specifies the distribution of funds from the ATC settlement and CDI grant. 

Gentry said the CDI grant money will help to offset the increase in interest rates to borrow money to build the Sturgeon Bay Terrace.

The development agreement for the project, to be constructed in tax incremental district #4, will provide Gentry with up to $685,000 in financial incentives if the development’s assessed value reaches $2.4 million.

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