WEDC investment to help fund construction for new commercial space and apartments

MADISON, WI. MAY 12, 2021 – The City of Menasha is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help revitalize the site of a former historic theater damaged by fire.

The Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the redevelopment of the former Historic Brin Theater site. The theater was torn down in 2018 following a structure fire. The site will hold a mixed-use development with commercial space and 43 apartment units.

“A vibrant downtown is crucial to a city’s overall economic health and its quality of life, which is why one of WEDC’s top priorities is to support communities throughout the state as they invest in revitalizing their downtowns,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “This development will make a real difference in Menasha by adding housing, increasing property values and encouraging future investment in the downtown area.”

Once constructed, the new mixed-use building will hold 8,000 square feet of commercial space with 16 residential housing units above, all connected by a skywalk to a four-story apartment building with 27 additional units. The project is expected to be completed in 2022.

Menasha Community Development Director Sam Schroeder described this project as “an iconic and influential project that will lead a path of urban renewal and growth in our downtown.”

The city is working with developer The Brin LLC to acquire the site, complete the remaining demolition and construct the new building.

Project plans also include 46 underground parking stalls and approximately 55 surface parking stalls. The city will additionally install a large regional underground stormwater retention facility under a newly constructed public thoroughfare.

“The CDI Grant to Menasha is a perfect example of how the state can assist in visionary development leading to the betterment of local community,” said state Rep. Lee Snodgrass. “These funds allow for investment in desirable downtown housing with underground parking and commercial space, which will contribute to urban appeal and the desirable trifecta of housing, shops and businesses all within walking distance.”

The city and developer view this project as a catalyst development for downtown Menasha, and have a second development site planned for a future restaurant. Along with the potential for this project to create jobs in the commercial space, the taxable property value is anticipated to increase from $139,000 to $10 million when the site is fully developed.

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