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City mulls low interest loan for Urban Street Bistro project

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By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — City leaders next week will discuss a request by Urban Street Bistro owner Clint Schultz for a low-interest commercial rehabilitation loan for $125,000 to help fund a plan to transform a west side riverfront property.

Schultz’s application, dated July 16, seeks funding to defray the cost of a planned outdoor patio, window replacement, roof repair, door replacement and parking lot landscaping. Commercial rehabilitation loans aim to “to stimulate rehabilitation and redevelopment of commercial real estate within downtown Wausau,” according to city documents. The loans, which are maintained and monitored by the finance department and reviewed by the city’s economic development committee, carry a 1.5 percent interest rate with payments deferred for one year.

The project is more than two years in the works.

“We are aware that their plans and financing are wrapping up,” said Economic Development Director Chris Schock. “Urban Street Bistro will attend the meeting and update the Committee.”

Alderman Tom Neal, chair of the economic development committee, did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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.

But that closing never materialized, and in May, officials were again assured that financing would be secured within 60 days.

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.

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.

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.

Members of the economic development committee will review the request Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 5:15 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 407 Grant St., Wausau.

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