By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — Plans for a restaurant in the former Westside Battery building that have been in the works for two years are being scaled back, according to Urban Street Bistro Owner Clint Schultz.
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 asked for a $100,000 commercial loan and a $150,000 MCDEVCO commercial equipment loan, while purchasing the property from the city for $225,000.
The purchase price was amended last year to $235,947 to allow the city to recoup real estate taxes on the property for 2017, and has since been amended to $246,895 to reflect property taxes that the city would have collected for 2018 if the sale had closed as scheduled. The tax amount was based on an assessment completed before the city acquired the property, according to Economic Development Director Chris Schock.
But what began as a basic remodel later developed into a much more ambitious project with an estimated value of more than $2 million. Those plans, which included a brew pub, have now been scrapped in favor of a scaled-down project.
In May 2018, 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 then that he expected to close on the property within weeks, with construction beginning over the summer, but the deal never materialized and the property transfer has so far not taken place.
Speaking Tuesday to members of the economic development committee, Schultz explained the change and offered an update to the plan, which no longer includes a brewery. Plans for an outdoor patio are still in the works.
Schultz said he is confident he will secure financing within the next 60 days.
“We are moving forward,” Schultz said. “We decided to forego the brewery and the large addition that we originally looked at putting on the back side. We decided that should be more of a phased thing.”
Schock said he is working with Schultz to secure a commercial rehabilitation loan through his department.
Members of the committee approved the amended proposal.
The project involves two parcels of property, both which are owned by the city. City leaders in September 2016 purchased the Westside 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.