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Agreement approved for Merge development along Mike McCarthy Way

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – A development agreement for the first of what could become multiple buildings constructed along Mike McCarthy Way was approved Tuesday, Sept. 22, by the village board.

The agreement is conditioned on Ashwaubenon’s Community Development Authority (CDA) approving the land sale/transfer with Merge Urban Development on property the CDA owns between Holmgren Way and South Ashland Avenue.

Community Development Director Aaron Schuette said the development agreement with Merge Urban Development calls for a five-story building on the north side of Mike McCarthy Way.

Schuette said Building One in Merge’s project plans will have no less than 5,000 square feet of first-floor leasable commercial space and approximately 85 residential units to create a tax increment of at least $11 million.

“It will be a pretty substantial building,” he said.

Schuette said Merge initially planned to construct two buildings to initiate the project, but that was scaled back to one building because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“(Building One will be located) on the far west end of Mike McCarthy Way property on the north side,” he said.

Schuette said the land and Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) incentive to Merge of $1.75 million, to assist in financing the project, will be repaid to the village over a 15-year period.

“In the development agreement, they do have guarantees in there regarding the assessed valuation and payments, as is typically with our development agreement,” he said. “It’s hopeful this is the first step of a multi-building project for Mike McCarthy Way.”

Schuette said the development agreement calls for construction of Building One to begin no later than Nov. 1, 2021, with completion by Dec. 31, 2022.

“They’ll be submitting their plans no later than Dec. 31 of this year,” he said.

Because the property is located in the village’s Sports and Entertainment District, Schuette said the site plan would come before the Site Plan Review Committee, Plan Commission and village board for approval.

Merge plans

In response to the village’s request for proposals, Merge expressed an interest in redeveloping approximately 6.5 acres of property owned by the CDA along Mike McCarthy Way with an urban, walkable, mixed-use project.

Merge’s proposal submitted to the village estimated a possible overall cost at more than $57 million with a project built in phases.

The company’s full proposal called 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.

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