By Roger Utnehmer
The Sturgeon Bay city council on Tuesday amended a development agreement with the owners of Bay Loft Apartments on Madison Avenue. In June of 2017, the city entered into an agreement in which the developer, Urban Apex of Madison, committed to a project they predicted would have an assessed value of $5 million.
Council Member David Ward explained why the project not reaching the $5 million commitment is a problem today.
The property was purchased by the developer from Thomas “Cap” Wulf. Wulf is a former member of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority and Sturgeon Bay city council who pleaded no contest to charges of using his position of public trust for personal gain.
According to information provided by the City of Sturgeon Bay, if the development agreement were to be strictly followed the city share of tax revenues would have been $90,863 and Bay Lofts share would have been zero. Under the amendment approved by the council Tuesday, the city will receive $16,118 and the developer approximately $75,000. In one year, Ward hopes the assessed value of the property will reach the $5 million that was promised in the 2016 development agreement.
In a letter to City Administrator Josh VanLieshout, Urban Apex developer Christopher Laurent stated that “not returning 85 percent of our tax payment to retire our TIF note would be a tremendous financial burden to the property and certainly have a chilling effect on interest for further development in Sturgeon Bay.”
Ward told council members that there are potential legal problems because the agreement with the developer does not have language relating to an assessment of less than $5 million. The concession granted by the city of Sturgeon Bay is for one year.
Laurent concluded his letter to VanLieshout by stating, “We hope to quickly resolve this and continue to discuss other opportunities in your great city.”
You can hear a complete explanation by council member Ward here.