Apartment Complex Going Up Near Ice Hawks Arena
Left, an empty lot across the street from Ice Hawks Area on Badger Avenue is slated as the future home of multi-family apartment complex. (City-Times photo)
“This scenario….has the ability to break up what in essence is going to become a massive sea of multiple apartment buildings.” -Mayor Andrew Halverson
By Brandi Makuski
A new apartment complex is being proposed for eastside Stevens Point.
The complex consists of four 8-unit apartment buildings in the Park Dale Subdivision on the corner of Badger Avenue and Songbird Lane. Ten such apartment buildings already exist on the same piece of land.
City Plan Commissioners first saw the plans for the buildings at their April 7 meeting, but said the plain exterior appearance left little to be desired, suggesting instead a multi-color scheme and additional exterior finishes given the high visibility along Badger Avenue as well as Highway 10.
“My take is fairly simple: they are what they are,” said Mayor Andrew Halverson. “This scenario, however, especially when you move closer to Badger (Avenue) with the traffic that we’re seeing, has the ability to break up what in essence is going to become a massive sea of multiple apartment buildings. I think these need to be treated a little bit differently. Given that we have an opportunity to work with the developer to probably dress that up.”
“They are plain; like the mayor said, they are what the are,” said Commissioner Gary Curless. “I’d like to see a little more design on this project.”
Halverson said the city should consider asking property owner Mark Wolf to change up the exterior using a combination of hardiplank (fiber cement siding), masonry and E.F.I.S. (Exterior Insulation Finishing System).
Mark Wolf assured Halverson that E.F.I.S. was versatile enough to be fashioned into the appearance of stone or brick, but wanted to keep using the product because it contains an extra layer of insulation, keeping the construction costs more efficient.
“The things you’re asking for, like hardiplank, that adds a lot more cost to it,” said Wolf. “It would be very expensive to build, in terms of the rent that you get. We’d like to stick with the E.F.I.S. if we could.”
Wolf said each apartment will have balcony or patio space, adding there was “extensive” vegetative screening planned for landscaping the property. Sidewalks would also be installed along Songbird Lane and Badger Avenue.
Stevens Point- based Point of Beginning is performing the architectural work for the project.
Commissioners approved the conditional use permit for construction, but formal approval was postponed by the City Council Monday because there were too many elements left to chance.
“I’m a little bit discouraged by the box style of these units,” said Alderman Randy Stroik Monday night. Stroik said it was “premature” to vote on the project because city leaders should have additional time to create specific guidelines for the exterior, ensuring a more palatable appearance of the final project
City Development Director Michael Ostrowski called the project “nearly a continuation” of the ten apartment buildings nearby, which were constructed about 8 years ago. Ostrowski said he and his small staff would have to continually work with the developer to ensure the E.F.I.S. would be appropriate to use on the construction, and to make sure the project contains a buffer visible from the road.
Stroik suggested the council take an additional month to consider all the options.
“It would put a lot of pressure on you and your staff to please a lot of people,” Stroik said to Ostrowski. “So I’m making a motion we postpone for 30 days just so we can help you out with some of those tough cosmetic decisions.”
The rest of the Council voted with Stroik, agreeing to look over additional guidelines at committee meetings in May.
City leaders say the Park Dale Subdivision is primed for extensive growth over the next several years, with a prime location just off the interstate and the main entrance into the city from the eastern rural communities. Park Dale is largely undeveloped but close to established commercial properties as well as scenic park land, which is expected to remain such as it sits within a wellhead protection area.
The subdivision is already home to a dentist office and several blocks of apartments and single family homes. The Store gas station opened its new location on Badger Avenue last year, and Ostrowski said a credit union is expected to begin construction across the street “soon”.
“I think you’ll see the residential development will help spur businesses,” Ostowski said. “I think we’re starting to see that with The Store going in there, now the credit union, and we’re starting to backfill those parcels with commercial activity.”
Ostowski said only 2-3 lots facing the Highway 10 corridor are left for sale.
Halverson said city planner did a good job laying out the various zoning districts in the new development, with “aggressive business presence” closest to Highway 10, followed by a mix of commercial and multi-family lots and eventually phasing into single family homes. He also said eventually Badger Avenue could become a lighted intersection.
The Council will consider the matter during committee meetings on May 12, 6 PM at the Lincoln Center. The public is welcome.