Sturgeon Bay Receives $250k for Younkers Building Redevelopment

The City of Sturgeon Bay is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help redevelop the former Younkers department store space in downtown Sturgeon Bay. 

The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the renovation of the long-vacant building into a new retail center that will include an accessories and home furnishings store and additional retail space. The project is expected to be completed by October of this year.

“A vibrant downtown is crucial to a city’s overall economic health and its quality of life, which is why it is one of WEDC’s top priorities to support communities across the state and invest in improving their business districts,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic-development organization. “This project will not only preserve a piece of the city’s history by renovating a building that is 85 years old, but [it] also will provide opportunities for future investment and growth.”

The property is the largest retail building in the downtown area. The renovated building will have a total of 20,070 square feet of leasable space.  

“This project provides multiple benefits to Sturgeon Bay,” said Mayor David Ward. “Not only does it fill the huge hole caused by the loss of Younkers, [but] it allows a locally owned business to expand, and, importantly, the project will include public restrooms through a partnership with the city.”

Todd Trimberger – owner of Bliss, an accessories and home furnishings store on Jefferson Street in Sturgeon Bay – and Dr. Kelton Reitz acquired the property to renovate for its future use under SBLifeIsGood, LLC. The Bliss home furnishings store will occupy the majority of the main floor because Trimberger wants to expand the business. 

There is space for additional retail businesses and related uses in the lower and upper levels and a portion of the main floor, and they are actively pursuing tenants for the space.

“Many people in the community have told me how excited they are about the building renovations and having it be occupied again,” Trimberger said. “The financial support from the City of Sturgeon Bay and WEDC is crucial to making this happen.”