WEDC investment to help fund development of commercial space and apartments

MADISON, WI. AUG. 31, 2021 – The City of Eau Claire is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help redevelop a city lot into a mixed-use building in downtown Eau Claire.

The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the development of a five-story building containing commercial space and 76 apartments.

“WEDC is committed to helping communities invest in revitalizing their downtowns to encourage economic growth,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “This project not only provides housing and commercial space opportunities for the community but will also serve as a catalyst for future investment.”

The project site at 100 N. Farwell St., currently a city parking lot, was declared excess land in 2019. Once redeveloped, the building will include 76 residential units, with a mix of furnished studios, one-bedroom units, and two-bedroom units. The first floor of the building will provide over 8,000 square feet of commercial space.

The city is working with Merge Urban Development Group and Slingshot Architecture for the development, which is expected to be completed in March 2023. The project has a capital investment of over $19 million and is positioned to add over $10 million in future taxable value to the City of Eau Claire’s tax base. It will be the first new ground-up residential development available in the district in nearly a decade.

The final building plan includes a public riverfront promenade that will connect to the public trail system and include micro-retail storefronts, waterfront dining and public space for grilling and picnicking. The retail component of the development is estimated to create approximately 20 jobs, which will be a mix of service, craftsmanship, managerial, and office positions.

The micro-retail spaces will offer move-in-ready retail space at attainable rates for small businesses. The unit size and storefronts proposed are designed to launch small businesses, jump-start a viable mixed-use neighborhood and increase safety and walkability.

“Targeted state investments are key to creating new economic opportunities and supporting local jobs,” said state Sen. Jeff Smith. “I’m thankful for the efforts of Governor Evers and WEDC to support local economic development and build our communities up for success.”

WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

From the program’s inception in 2013 to Sept. 30, 2020, WEDC awarded nearly $26.7 million in CDI Grants to 87 communities for projects expected to generate more than $446 million in capital investments statewide.