Plans to bring a residential and commercial development to the Port of Dubuque soon could become a reality. 

The development, called The Stacks, is a project of Cedar Falls-based developer Merge Urban Development Group. Plans on Merge’s website detail a structure featuring over 180 units of market-rate and workforce housing and approximately 17,000 square feet of commercial space. A recent amended development agreement with the city has city officials optimistic that the project will come to fruition.

“We get these developments, and 10% or 20% of them move forward,” said Alexis Steger, Dubuque’s housing and community development director. “Stacks has moved forward more than most. It’s promising to see more movement.”

The popular and top-ranked Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. is expanding to Des Moines.

The maker of Pseudo Sue pale ale and Dorothy’s New World Lager plans on opening a taproom in a mixed-use development planned near Drake University.

“We’ve been looking for a while now on where to place our coveted second location in Iowa,” Clark Lewey, owner of the brewing company, said. “We have looked all over Iowa – Iowa City, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs. We’ve been very patient. From early on, it felt like Des Moines was going to be the right fit for us.

“It was a critical city that helped us become who we are, and the beer culture there is amazing.”

Toppling Goliath will be the anchor tenant of a development planned by Merge Urban Development Group, a Cedar Falls firm that is building two five-story mixed-use buildings on the north half of a block bounded by 24th and 25th streets and University and Carpenter avenues. Lewey said he expects the taproom to open in the first half of 2025.

ASHWAUBENON (WLUK) – A new apartment building and climbing gym held its ribbon cutting on Wednesday.

The Common Place Apartments are located on Mike McCarthy Way in Ashwaubenon’s Sports & Entertainment District.

Home to 88 total residential units – including studios and one and two-bedroom apartments – the property has a unique twist: a climbing and fitness center occupying the entire first floor.

Planette Kids, a brand-new kid-oriented boutique in downtown Eau Claire, is located within a family friendly solar system: the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library and the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire are nearby, as is Phoenix Park and a pair of ice cream shops.

Proprietor Jill Heinke Moen says she has more than location on her side: She’s hoping that her clothing store’s commitment to environmentally friendly and socially conscious products exerts enough gravity to pull customers toward Planette Kids as well.

“We all have to wear clothes, so you might as well feel good about it,” the entrepreneur and mother of two said during a recent interview at the soon-to-open store in Suite 116 of 100 N. Farwell St.

The brightly painted store occupies 800 square feet on the first floor of Andante, a five-story mixed-use building that opened last year overlooking the Eau Claire River between North Barstow and North Farwell streets. It’s next to Eau Claire Vintage, another new clothing store.

If you dabble in the local vintage clothing scene and stay tuned into Instagram, you’ll have certainly heard of – if not already shopped – Eau Claire Vintage.  Since first starting up about three years ago, founder Mike Shoultz has graduated from UW-Eau Claire and continued to grow his business with partner and co-CEO Giana Giarrusso. Now they have the keys to their first storefront.

The walls are rising on the 40,000-square-foot apartment and commercial building Thursday at 424 N. Third St. in downtown Burlington. The site is where the former Burlington Police Department was located and developer Merge LLC is building 47 market-rate units comprised of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments along with 3,300 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

APPLETON - The city and Merge Urban Development Group of Iowa have struck a deal for the construction of a $12 million mixed-use building on the site of the former Blue parking ramp at the southwest corner of Oneida and Washington streets.

The five-story building will have commercial space on the first floor and 75 market-rate apartments on the upper floors.

A development agreement approved unanimously by the Common Council commits Appleton to pay Merge about $2.9 million ($2.2 million plus interest) as an incentive to bring the project to completion.

The project is the second phase of the development known as Urbane. The first phase, costing $7.7 million, was approved in September. It involves a five-story building with first-floor commercial space and 56 apartments on the former Conway Hotel property (also known as Washington Square) at the southeast corner of Oneida and Washington.

The next phase of the ongoing redevelopment of Des Moines' Drake University business district is slated to include a pair of five-story, mixed-use buildings on Carpenter Avenue between 24th and 25th streets.

Though the 110,000-square-foot project would have more than 100 housing units, stores and offices, the planners say they are looking to balance the buildings' height with a more neighborhood-friendly scale.

While the overall height will be five stories, the portion that is closer to the historic neighborhood on the east side of 24th will be stepped down to three stories.

"A lot of the most adjacent buildings are about three stories, but you'll notice that the design has been sensitive to that and has stepped back in places," Naomi Hamlett, Des Moines economic development coordinator, told the city's Urban Design Review Board as it considered the plan Tuesday. "It also has a lot of glass so it doesn't feel as large at the pedestrian level."

ASHWAUBENON (WLUK) -- East of Lambeau Field, another development is breaking ground in Ashwaubenon.

The Common Place will consist of 88 residential units, Odyssey Climbing and Fitness and an additional 3,000 square feet of commercial space.

"This town, this community, has better housing than most. Not just in Wisconsin, but in the Midwest, for a town of this size," Merge Urban Development CEO Brent Dahlstrom said.

OSHKOSH – The city has made it to the home stretch of a redevelopment that is 23 years in the making. 

Plans are in motion for remaining vacant sites in the Marion Road redevelopment plan, an update that excites Mark Lyons, the city's planning services manager.

The Oshkosh Common Council on Tuesday approved a specific implementation plan for the first phase in the Mackson Corners development at the southwest corner of Jackson Street and Marion Road. (If you missed that, the aptly named "Mackson" comes from combining the two street names.) 

"We've done substantial, significant development," Lyons said. "The tax value to that area now versus when we started in (1998) is a significant increase." 

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