The Sturgeon Bay Common Council has tentatively agreed to donate two city-owned lots in the industrial park to the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) for a modular-home manufacturing facility. The two lots fronting Keel Court and Leeward Street total 3.83 acres and are valued, with incentives subtracted, at $38,300.
Julie Schmelzer, DCEDC’s director of business development, said the facility would address an affordable-housing shortage and a lack of construction workers in the county and northeastern Wisconsin. It would factory produce smaller, lower-cost homes using student apprentices. Schmelzer said they’re working on a plan to partner with the Door County Homebuilders Association and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, which would provide homebuilding certificates for students working at the facility because they’d be learning skills such as drywalling and roofing.
“As they graduate, they can help fill those contractor jobs,” she said.
By building the homes on production scale and using students as apprentices, they believe the facility could generate homes with prices between $99,000 and $159,000.
Schmelzer is writing three grants to fund the facility. If they’re successful, a nonprofit would take over the facility and manage the operation.
The council’s unanimous agreement was tentative because if the grants aren’t successful, the land won’t transfer. If that’s the case, Schmelzer said, “I’ll be back the next grant cycle.”