Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission to Review Apartment, Retail Building Application

Tonight the Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission will review the Planned Unit Development (PUD) application for The Bay Lofts, an apartment and retail building along Madison Avenue at the former Harbor Place Shoppes.

The Bay Lofts project is a proposed 35-unit, four-story building with one-, two- and three-bedroom options and 3,200 sq. ft. of commercial space on the first floor split into two tenant spaces. Covered parking, balconies, a fitness center and fourth floor deck are part of the plan. The developer representatives are Chris Laurent and Jeff Gillis of New Urban Focus, Inc. of Madison.

“The plans for The Bay Lofts are complete and will be reviewed to determine how this space fits into our city,” said Josh VanLieshout, city administrator. “Like most cities, Sturgeon Bay wants to expand our downtown living real estate choices. This building will be good for everyone downtown, because new real estate helps drive the City of Sturgeon Bay’s economic development.”

Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak added, “Downtown residential living has been increasing in popularity throughout the country. This is Sturgeon Bay’s first major foray into downtown living since the initial development of our downtown areas.”

“Villages and cities are now rated for ‘walkability’ to shops, restaurants, parks and cultural events,” VanLieshout said. “The concerts, festivals and art fairs discussed for the new waterfront development site and walking area add to the attraction of living in Sturgeon Bay. Residents can walk to a coffee shop, rent a kayak and get their dry cleaning done within a few blocks. This lifestyle will be especially attractive to Millennials and retired residents.”

With the upcoming renovations and improvements to the downtown waterfront, people living downtown have the opportunity for a higher quality of life. In addition to nearby shopping and restaurants, residents will be close to a 1.3-acre park on the waterfront. Developers of The Bay Lofts project cited the overall West Side Redevelopment Plan as a sign from the community that the City of Sturgeon Bay is serious about enhancing the area and see their project as a piece of something greater.

“The vision in the West Side plan – with a park on the waterfront, new dining, and entertainment, coupled with existing and future retail options – make investment in Sturgeon Bay attractive,” said Chris Laurent, project principal.

“Most importantly, Jeff and I are interested in working with communities with a strong vision of who they are and where they want to be,” Laurent added. “The vibrancy expressed by City leaders is palpable. In our experience, there’s a direct correlation between the strength of the commitment of community partners and a development’s overall success. Sturgeon Bay has a very unique vibe: City leaders present a winning attitude, and we’re excited to tap into that.”

The project’s mixed use is an important component of the City’s efforts to revitalize the waterfront area of the West Side. In addition to The Bay Lofts, the redevelopment efforts include a hotel, a 1.3-acre public park and waterfront promenade, a proposed brewpub incorporated into the existing grain elevator on the former Door County Co-op property, and additional apartments.

“The Bay Lofts project fits nicely into the City’s plans,” said Thad Birmingham, mayor of Sturgeon Bay. “The apartments, retail space, hotel and other proposed private developments will help ensure the success of the waterfront park and other public amenities.”

The Plan Commission meeting starts at 7 pm Wednesday, March 16, at Sturgeon Bay City Hall, 421 Michigan St. While a formal public hearing will not be held, citizens are invited to review the plans and offer their informal comments to the Plan Commission. If someone is unable to attend, comments submitted in writing are welcome. Written comments can be directed to Marty Olejniczak at [email protected] or Ryan Kernosky at [email protected].

For more information, contact Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak or City Administrator Josh VanLieshout at 920.746.2900.

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