Developer Scraps Sturgeon Bay West Waterfront Project

City is now in preliminary discussions with a different developer

A 53-unit apartment building that was slated for the West Waterfront is not going to be constructed – or at least not by the company the City of Sturgeon Bay selected back in 2020.

After not finalizing an agreement with Northpointe Development for the Breakwater Residences apartment complex, the city is now in preliminary discussions with another developer.

The Oshkosh-based Northpointe, which renovated the former West Side School into 15 apartment units that opened last year, had proposed building 53 market-rate apartment units in four stories on the north side of East Maple Street between the Maple-Oregon Street Bridge and the Door County Maritime Museum.

In hopes that the company and city would work out a development agreement with financial incentives on the city-owned parcel, the space remained vacant after the city selected Northpointe for the site in late 2020 over T. Wall Enterprises, whose architect designed the nearby Bay Lofts development. 

When asked why no agreement was reached for Northpointe to proceed with the project, city administrator Josh VanLieshout said, “Their numbers don’t work.”

City officials recently acknowledged that preliminary talks are underway with the Bay Lofts developer. Chris Laurent, who was involved with developing the Bay Lofts project – the building houses a Bay Shore Outfitters store and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments – said a similar development is being considered for the West Waterfront site with a combination of retail space and market-rate apartment buildings.

Though discussions with the city are preliminary at this point and it’s too early to tell whether a development there would be financially feasible, Laurent said one possible project being considered is having 60 apartment units in a building with three or four stories.

Laurent, who characterized city officials as being “beyond awesome to work with” when the Bay Lofts project was developed, said the financing would need to be worked out for a project at the West Waterfront site, such as receiving incentives for locating in tax increment district #4 and dealing with rising interest rates for borrowing money.

If the project did proceed, Laurent said construction could begin as early as this fall, with the work finished in about a year.

Projects now pending along the West Waterfront include the restoration of the Door County Granary by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation and plans by WWP Development to construct a two-story, mixed-use building known as the Sturgeon Bay Terrace.  

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