By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – A company interested in redeveloping approximately 6 1/2 acres of property owned by the village’s Community Development Authority along Mike McCarthy Way with an urban, walkable, mixed-use project has been given more time to decide whether to proceed.
After meeting in closed session Tuesday, March 24, the village board extended Merge Urban Development Group’s a one-year planning option for a new development.
The board last fall approved a six-month planning option for Merge, which has been redeveloping properties in Wisconsin and Iowa.
The company is being allowed by the village to determine whether its proposal would be financially feasible to construct up to five buildings, plus townhomes and parking, for commercial and residential use, along with an office and a hotel.
Ashwaubenon Clerk-Treasurer Patrick Moynihan Jr. said the initial planning option was about to expire prior to being extended.
Merge responded to a request for proposals put together last May by village staff for redeveloping the site consisting of 2 1/2 acres on the south side of Mike McCarthy Way and another 4 acres on the north side of the street just east of where the village previously approved plans for the construction of a Cambria Hotel with 100 units.
According to Merge’s proposal, which estimates the overall cost at more than $57 million, the project would be built in phases.
Phase one – which would include two buildings, four to five stories each, on the north side of Mike McCarthy Way with a total of more than 150 residential units and nearly 30,000 square feet of commercial space – is estimated to cost more than $30 million.
Merge’s full proposal calls for 225 residential units, a boutique hotel, a four-story office building, townhomes and parking shielded from sight by the buildings.
However, Merger stated proceeding with the second and other subsequent phases would be determined based on the village reaction to the program, viable hotel users, office needs, etc.
A development agreement would have to be approved between Merge and the village for the project to proceed, and the company has requested Tax Incremental Financing or an upfront incentive to be negotiated in the agreement.
Community Development Director Aaron Schuette said the extension was approved because of the village having to work through a development agreement with the company.
If Merge decides not to go ahead with the redevelopment, Schuette said the village could seek out another company for another project on the property.