Stevens Point News - STEVENS POINT — The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded the City of Stevens Point a $250,000 Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant to support the North Side Yard in downtown Stevens Point.

Merge Urban Development Group plans to begin relocating site utilities within the next month in anticipation of a fall groundbreaking for the North Side Yard. The North Side Yard is a mixed-use development to be constructed on a 3.95-acre vacant lot at 1017 Third Street.

The project will be 210,916 total building square feet; with approximately 211 residential units and nearly 30,000 square feet of commercial / retail area. The estimated value of the development is $25 million. The name ‘North Side Yard’ and the stacked timber architectural elements pay homage to the community’s beginnings in the lumber industry.

The site was formally known as the ‘Lullabye Furniture Site,’ in reference to the furniture factory that was established at the site in the late 1800s, which subsequently closed in the 1970s. Since then, the City of Stevens Point has invested in removing contamination and making the vital site ready for redevelopment that would help position downtown Stevens Point as both a destination and a home for residents and visitors.

Today, the City of Stevens Point has a thriving creative economy of makers and young entrepreneurs. North Side Yard will feel like walking into next-generation Stevens Point – with rich spaces to gather, micro retail for startups or makers, and a dense housing mix that is sure to inspire lots of walking and biking activity.

“A vibrant downtown is crucial to a city’s overall economic health, which is why one of WEDC’s top priorities is to support communities throughout the state as they invest in improving their business districts. This project will make a real difference in Stevens Point by creating jobs, increasing property values, and enhancing the downtown area,” said Mark R. Hogan, Secretary and CEO of WEDC.

“The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation continues to be a strong partner in redevelopment efforts in Stevens Point. This investment will assist in the creation of a project that will transform the northern edge of the downtown,” said Community Development Director Michael Ostrowski.

“We are honored to have been selected for this grant. It is a testament to the support this redevelopment project has. The community has really rallied around this concept and it will be a strong catalyst for our thriving city core,” said Mayor Mike Wiza.

“Merge Urban Development Group has been absolutely phenomenal to work with on this project. Their team put forth a considerable amount of effort in the planning process for this project, which will ultimately result in a development that will have a significant positive impact on not only the downtown, but the entire community,” said Ostrowski.

An official groundbreaking ceremony is expected to take place in late October. Invitations will be extended to the public and shared on the developer’s website and their LinkedIn page once the date has been determined.

CDI Grants support community redevelopment efforts by providing incentives for shovel-ready projects that primarily focus on revitalizing downtowns. Projects funded by the grants must lead to job creation, an increase in local property values, and a significant matching investment from local and private partners.