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Sister Bay Hotel Developer Eyes Community Development Grant to Kick-start Project

The Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) is working with developer Chris Schmeltz on financing for the Dörr Hotel, which has been stuck in limbo for more than a year. 

The Village of Sister Bay has agreed to submit a grant application on behalf of Schmeltz for a Community Development Investment Grant through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to get the project off the ground. 

The $250,000 grant supports shovel-ready projects with an emphasis on downtown efforts. Grant recipients must demonstrate measurable benefits in job opportunities, property values and/or leveraged investment by local and private partners. 

Only municipalities may apply for the grants, which are available to rural counties with fewer than 155 residents per square mile. 

Jim Schuessler, executive director of DCEDC, outlined the grant-application process for the village board at its July 16 meeting.

Schmeltz has until Sept. 30 to sign a contract with the village to purchase the property. He originally proposed a 40-unit hotel for the empty property between CHOP and Sister Bay Bowl, with retail on the first floor. In December, the village granted Schmeltz an exemption that exchanged a portion of the retail for four more hotel units, which would generate significantly more revenue for the hotel. 

Schmeltz said that rising construction-labor and materials costs made the project almost impossible to complete without the change.

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