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Plan Commission recommends apartment development in Stevens Point, opposed by other landlords

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- Stevens Point’s Plan Commission heard from a room full of landlords Monday night about a proposed 40-unit five story apartment building on Division Street. Architect and developer Jack Fisher from CCFS Group LLC presented the plan and answered questions for the Commission. The Plan Commission had little to say, but the speakers against this project gave them plenty to listen to.

After nearly four hours of comments and discussion, the Plan Commission voted to recommend the project to the full city council.

Before the city council can act, Mayor Andrew Halverson says the city’s Finance Committee will be considering the financial incentives including Tax Incremental District funding at their meeting Wednesday. “The TIF incentives are going to be an up front incentive of $500,000 dollars, offset by minimum construction requirements, minimum of investment, and obviously construction dollars that we’re looking at.”

Other landlords complained the city would not be treating them fairly by offering TIF district incentives to this developer. Many also believed the conditional use process moved too quickly, and failed to meet application requirements.

Halverson strongly supports the project, saying the market needs more student housing close to campus as UW Stevens Point’s student population is growing. He says that for the city, it’s a good deal for taxpayers. “We want density. We want to encourage re-use and reinvestment in our core, but the financial argument is even more simple. That five-hundred thousand dollar assessment is paid back in four years. It produces well in excess of a million dollars more in tax revenue for the city that we can reinvest in that TIF district.”

The Mayor says good developments support area businesses and also help fund improvements near them. “This project has the potential to pay for, without any city taxpayer paying another dime, the complete rebuild of Division Street from Fourth Avenue well past Academy Avenue. That’s over a quarter mile of four-lane, nine-inch reinforced concrete with sidewalks, aesthetics, storm, water, and sewer. Now that’s where the taxpayer wins, and that’s what we have to be focusing on.”

There was also opposition to the new apartment having very few parking places for forty apartments. Community Development Director Michael Ostrowski explained that having from 1 to 1.5 stalls per unit was not much different than similar communities in Wisconsin, and that renters who need parking would probably rent elsewhere or make arrangements for their vehicles to be parked off site.

The proposed new apartments would cost around seven million dollars to construct, and be called Conservation Place. They would be located at 209 Division Street, where the Point Motel is presently located.

(Our interview with Mayor Andrew Halverson can be heard on our website, here.)

 

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