By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A proposal to transform a west side riverfront property into a restaurant is still not finalized, more than two years after the proposal fist surfaced.
In May 2018, Urban Street Bistro owner Clint Schultz told city officials he had a commitment from a local bank to finance the project and had pulled in several local investors. At that time Schultz said he expected to close on the property within weeks, with construction beginning last summer. Schultz now operates a food truck and catering business with about four full-time and several part-time employees.
Then in December, Economic Development Director Chris Schock told city leaders the project was still in play — with closing imminent.
“They are working on final plans and financing to close before the end of the year- we continue to update the Committee on the process in our updates,” Schock said, in December.
But on Tuesday, Schock gave an update to the economic development committee much like the update given one year ago.
“Things are continuing to move,” Schock said. “Obviously these types of projects stall in the winter anyway because it’s spring when they’re really going to get in earnest about doing major renovation work. So it seems timely anyway to get it wrapped up now.”
Schock said he hoped a real estate closing would happen in May or “as soon as possible.”
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.
The initial plan later developed into a much more ambitious project with an estimated value of about $1.4 million. The most recently released plans, which include a brew pub and a private dining areas for groups of between 30-40 people on the second floor, were unveiled in May 2018 at a meeting of the city’s economic development committee.
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.
Once the plan is finalized, the project is expected to take about a year to finish, with the business employing up to 14 full-time and more than 30 part-time employees.
Schultz’s plan was the only proposal the city received after issuing a request for proposals to develop the property. So far, the property has not changed hands.