By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — Plans to transform a west side riverfront property into a restaurant with an outdoor patio and a mini greenhouse have now expanded to include a brew pub and second level dining area.

The initial project, first proposed in March 2017, called for the former West Side Battery building at 415 S. First Ave. to become a 99-seat Urban Street Bistro restaurant. Then valued at about $600,000, the project asks for a $100,000 commercial loan and a $150,000 MCDEVCO commercial equipment loan, while purchasing the property from the city for $235,947. The original purchase price was set at $225,000, but has been amended to include allow the city to recoup real estate taxes on the property for 2017.

But what began as a basic remodel has since developed into a much more ambitious project with an estimated value of about $1.4 million. The new plans, which include the brew pub and a private dining areas for groups of between 30-40 people on the second floor, were unveiled Tuesday at a meeting of the city’s economic development committee. The new proposal will not require additional public money to complete.

The project involves two parcels of property, both which are owned by the city. City leaders in September 2016 purchased the West Side Battery property for $200,000 using a loan made by the Judd S. Alexander Foundation. The adjoining parcel, the former home of L&S Printing, was sold to the city in 2014 for $190,000, also with a loan from the Judd S. Alexander Foundation. Urban Street Bistro was the only applicant to redevelop the two plots when a request for proposals was issued.

Urban Street Bistro owner Clint Schultz told committee members he has a commitment from a local bank to finance the project and has pulled in several local investors. Schultz said he expects to close on the property within weeks, with construction beginning this summer. Once finished with construction, Schultz expects to employ up to 14 full-time employees and more than 30 part-time employees.

Schultz now operates the Urban Street Bistro food truck and catering business with four full-time and several part-time employees.

If the full council approves Schultz’s latest plan, the new facility is expected to open in spring 2019.