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Merge considering more development on Mike McCarthy Way

By Kevin Boneske

ASHWAUBENON – An area east of the construction site for a five-story building with a climbing gym along Mike McCarthy Way is being looked for more development.

The Ashwaubenon Community Development Authority voted Tuesday, Oct. 5, to approve a planning option agreement with Merge Urban Development on four parcels located immediately east of where the company is constructing The Common Place & Odyssey Climbing + Fitness, the first phase of what could become a multiple-building development.

The CDA, which owns the property, granted Merge an exclusive planning option for six months at $1,000.

According to the agreement terms, the planning option period will allow Merge “to complete all due diligence necessary to determine the physical and financial feasibility of proposed future uses.”

Community Development Director Aaron Schuette said Merge, which recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for the five-story building with a climbing gym, likes the partnership is has with the village for the phase one development and asked about a planning option to the east for phase two.

“There’s an option for an extended term (beyond the six months) for an additional $5,000,” he said. “The term of the extended term would be negotiated based on where we’re at at that point.”

Schuette said the planning option will provide Merge exclusive use of the property.

If phase two proceeds, he said an L-shaped building could be constructed somewhat in front of the climbing gym with the option for additional buildings to the east on the north side of Mike McCarthy Way.

Merge is planning to construct the five-story, mixed-use building with 3,100 square feet on commercial space on the first floor, 88 multi-family residential units on the second through fifth floors and the climbing gym on the east of the building. 

Schuette said the Sports & Entertainment zoning district, where the project is taking place, needs people there year-round.

“Right now, obviously, we have Packer games for 10 days out of the year, but to support the businesses as part of the Sports & Entertainment district, people need to be there year-round,” he said. “I think the Odyssey Climbing + Fitness certainly fits within Sports & Entertainment. That’s going to be a regional draw to bring people to this area.”

Schuette said residential occupancy above first-floor commercial development is a permitted use in the zoning district.

“It fits the overall vision for the area,” he said. “But I think as far as the actually entertainment uses, I think those are going to gravitate toward Holmgren Way, as those areas start to really develop…”

Schuette said the apartment units in the first phase of Merge’s development will be smaller than those constructed for The Element or Bohemian Park.

Village President Mary Kardoskee said “you have to have the volume of people to make those businesses viable.”

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