LAKESHORE REGIONAL NEWS: Door County, Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County, and Sheboygan County

New development plans in the works for Sturgeon Bay’s old West Side School

Local News

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Sturgeon Bay’s historic West Side School turns 100 in 2021.

For about 20 of its 100 years, the building has sat empty.

“The school sits on the hill, really overlooking the city,” Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward told Local 5, “and the prospects for developing it were always difficult, because school buildings don’t lend themselves to easy transition to residential properties.”

In 2019, plans were released for the school that would have transformed it into a 40-unit apartment complex.

Those plans hinged on the project being selected for WHEDA tax credits.

“When you apply for the WHEDA program, they actually look at the structure of the project and the pricing per unit,” Door County Administrator Ken Pabich explained, “so when they went through and awarded the money that they had allocated, our project wasn’t in, it was just too low in terms of that ratio.”

With WHEDA grants out of the picture, that project came to an abrupt stop.

Now, Door County officials hope to get the development wheels rolling again with money awarded to them through a Community Development Block Grant.

“So we’re using those funds to go towards this project, and again, when we’re saying this project, I guess I consider it almost new in a sense,” Pabich said.

The new project calls for 15 to 17 units, making it significantly smaller than the previous plan.

“We’re not looking at using the ball diamond,” Pabich said.

Developers had planned on taking the ball diamond to make the previously planned complex larger.

Local 5 previously talked to residents who opposed that plan.

With the new development plan, those softball-loving residents will play another day.

More information on what exactly the new project would look like is expected to be released on January 18th for Sturgeon Bay’s Plan Commission meeting.

“They would be reviewing the project and probably giving it some kind of recommendation on zoning,” Mayor Ward said.

According to the Mayor, this is one of a few housing projects in the works for 2021.

“And that’s all good, because we are seeing some growth here and real demand for housing,” he said.

To qualify for the grant money, at least 51 percent of the units in the proposed apartment building would have to be reserved for tenants with low or moderate income.

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