Some positive news for housing in northern Door County is on the horizon as a Baileys Harbor business owner is set to take a big swing in the center of town.
Todd Haleen, owner of Lakeshore Adventures, will break ground Sept. 13 on a redevelopment of his property next to Cornerstone Pub to create three retail units and 11 housing units that could provide beds for up to 30 seasonal and year-round workers.
“This business can’t operate without the employees to do it,” said Haleen, who started the business in 2011 and employs 30 people during peak season. “I lose a lot of good people because they can’t find a place to stay.”
For Haleen, the $2 million project is a big risk, but he was able to work with the Town of Baileys Harbor to win a $250,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to support the housing component of the development. If successful, the redevelopment will help Haleen attract employees and plan for his family’s future.
“I really want to have something in the town I can lay my claim to,” said Haleen, who was born and raised in Baileys Harbor. “Someday I want to give something to my kids. It’s really hard to start a business up here now, to get the capital and get a foot in the door. This is the next progression for me. Twenty years from now, this is my retirement plan, when I can hand a business to my kids and still bring in rent from the units. Up here, you work hard to build a business. Then when you want to retire, you have to sell it and the kids get nothing.”
Lakeshore Adventures will occupy the largest of the three units in the center of the building’s first floor. Traffic will be reconfigured to enter off Highway 57, but exit beyond the Cornerstone Pub onto County F to relieve congestion on the highway. Haleen’s tour-guide customers will load and unload on the back side of the building in a shuttle-only lane, and two 1,700-square-foot units will be available for lease on either side of the anchor store.
Housing units ranging from 570 to 880 square feet will include a bathroom, bedrooms, fridge and cooktop for roughly $500 per person. A small laundromat for tenants and public use is also included in the plan.
Four of the units will be year-round units, and the other seven will be seasonal.
“I can’t rent them all year-round because I need to have several available for my summer workers,” Haleen said.
Designing the building was no easy task. Baileys Harbor doesn’t have public water, so Haleen and his designer had to get creative to meet fire codes and avoid the expense of installing a sprinkler system. To do so, each unit had to have two exits, which required Haleen to include four stairwells.
Some of the other housing units will be tied to the two other retail spaces, and Haleen hopes the employee-housing component will help attract retail tenants.
On Sept. 13, he will begin demolishing the existing building, which houses his outdoor-recreation hub. If all goes according to schedule, the new building and housing units will be open by Memorial Day weekend of 2022.