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Housing with 54 Units Proposed on West Waterfront

The Sturgeon Bay Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee will take up developer Richard Robinson’s proposal on Tuesday, May 14 at 4 pm, according to the committee’s agenda. 

Robinson, who developed the three-unit commercial building with a Starbucks at the southwest corner of Duluth Avenue (County S) and state Highway 42/57, is proposing a four-story, 54-unit housing development on the city’s West Waterfront on the same site along East Maple Street where Cobblestone Hotels has also proposed a four-story, 62-unit hotel

Both projects will be on the committee’s agenda, Tuesday.

Robinson’s proposal seeks to purchase the site from the city for $1, the same amount offered to Northpointe Development, which in 2020 received city approval for a 53-unit apartment project at that location where the company later decided not to build.

Robinson estimates the 88,678-square-foot apartment building would cost $14,850,000 to construct, with total project development costs coming to $16,761,621.

Due to a “very challenging economic and financial environment,” he said he is requesting a $1 land purchase price and Tax Increment District (TID) financing “to achieve a viable rate of return to the project investors.” The site is located within the city’s TID #4.

Robinson is requesting financial incentives totaling $2,878,848, with 14 annual payments of $205,623, which would be 90% of the projected annual property tax on the project, based on a guaranteed minimum assessed value of $13.6 million.

Robinson said he estimates $319,872 above the total incentive amount would be returned to TID #4 before it closes in 2040.

Compared to the financial projections for the proposed Cobblestone Hotel project, which would receive $1.32 million in incentives, the hotel’s estimated amount returned to the district would be around $200,000.

Opponents to the proposal from Cobblestone Hotels have appeared before the committee to speak against the project when it was on the agenda twice in the past two months. They have instead stated a preference for housing rather than a hotel near the West Waterfront.

A closed session to consider both the hotel and multi-unit housing development is also part of Tuesday’s committee agenda.