City of Sturgeon Bay moves to implement west-side plan

November 2011 News

The old Midland granary that sits on a vacant lot on Sturgeon Bay's west side has done nothing for several years but fade the large M that once boldly identified its owner.

A new city plan that elevates the old cooperative building as a key structure in the West Waterfront Redevelopment design is moving from the dreaming stage to reality.

"We are now beyond conceptual," said City Administrator Steve McNeil. "We are ready to both plan and fund the public improvements."

The city is working with Vandewalle & Associates, a Madison architectural and consulting firm, to develop the plan. When implemented, it's hoped the plan will bring more activity to the bay and the city, build future tax base, provide new jobs and draw year-round residents.

"There is no purchase of real estate by the city in this," McNeil said. "Vandewalle facilitated the concept. The city likes it and we continue to have discussions on other parts of the project. We're hoping what we put together will interest a qualified developer."

The granary
In the past, finding a qualified developer for the former cooperative site with an abandoned granary and another large commercial building has not been easy. Even though it's on the waterfront, it has been empty at least seven years. But the last developer who owned it did move through some engineering studies, said Realtor Heidi Neubauer of ERA Starr Realty, who now has it listed for sale.

Neubauer said the former developer was in phase three of the project when the real estate market took a tumble in 2008. The project ended up back in the hands of the bank after being foreclosed. The price is now listed for $550,000 - about half of what was once asked.

"The studies he completed are a definite plus for any potential developer," she said. "They can learn a lot about what is going on there from those reports."

The former owner, for example, took soil samples to study for possible contaminants, as the site at one time had a service station. Engineering and feasibility studies of the granary are on their way.


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