The first building of a new multi-family apartment complex in the Dells is scheduled for completion sometime next year.
Stony Acres Apartments broke ground at its location at 801 Jones Rd. in early August with the first apartment scheduled for completion in 2021. The construction of the first building is the initial phase in adding a potential 150 market rate unit apartments in the Dells.
Duane Kleinsasser, one of the developers in the project, said Aug. 26 he is hoping the first building will have occupancy in June or July 2021. He said the goal is to finish phase I and see what occupancy brings in the first building before beginning phase II to construct the second building.
Each building will contain 75 units and four stories. Kleinsasser said heated underground parking will be included. Other amenities include a pet wash for tenants to give their pets a bath, a bike station, a community room, movie theater, library and game room.
Amenities included in the rent, like hot water, are still being worked out with a management company, Kleinsasser said. The building will contain four studio bedroom units, 20 one-bedroom units, 41-two bedroom units, 8-three bedroom units and 2 three-bedroom deluxe units with a den, according to Kleinsasser. He said rent amounts are being determined with the management company.
Kleinsasser, from the Richland Center area, constructed a 45-unit apartment building in Richland Center. He said the decision to invest in an apartment project in the Dells was to fill a housing need in the community after talking with local government officials and businesses. Another factor was the tourism draw and the new high school construction on Brew Farm Road.
“We’re excited to be coming to the Wisconsin Dells area,” Kleinsasser said. “There is a lot of support and we are really excited to be coming there and fulfilling a need and to be a part of that community.”
Each building is estimated to cost $9 million each, according to the developer’s agreement with the city. According to the agreement and Wisconsin Dells Mayor Ed Wojnicz, the city estimates the project could add $7.5 million to the tax base once construction is completed. The project will be located in the city’s TID 2 district.
“We don’t have anything comparable to this,” Wojnicz said of the Stony Acres apartment project.
While the Dells area is known for tourism, Wojnicz said housing is needed and there is a strong demand for it. An example is the Pioneer Ridge Cottage project, which added 72-affordable units to the Dells in 2016.
“They filled up fast and they have a waiting list,” he said. “There just isn’t any housing.”
The city is also working on another housing project to bring 60 apartment units to Race Street, 51 of which will be designated as income restricted. The developer in the estimated $11.7 million project plans to apply for $780,000 of low income housing tax credits through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, according to the developer’s agreement. The project has been in the works for over two years.
Wojnicz said both projects will bring more housing to the area, especially important for those who work in the Dells.
“With our lack of housing so many of the employees here are either living in Baraboo, Reedsburg, Portage,” he said. “They are not living in the Dells or Delton area.”
Wojnicz believes bringing housing to the Dells is a challenge because of land access. He also feels it’s been a challenge because with previous agreements not as much assistance was provided from the city to encourage developments.
“I don’t’ think we’ve helped the projects along enough with our participation,” he said.
The price tag of developments, such as a new housing project, can be high. So developers will sometimes turn to assistance from city, state or federal sources to reduce total costs.
Wojnicz believes the days where a developer invested in every aspect of a housing project on their own has changed.
“Now things have changed where if you want to encourage those projects you are going to have to do something,” he said.
The developer’s agreement with Stony Acres says the city will provide a $250,000 grant per building occupied prior to Dec. 31 2025 and 50% of the REU/sewer connection fee per building, estimated at $72,000 per building. All money for the project will come from TID 2 financing, according to the agreement.
Contribution from a city source can also come through a construction project if it overlaps with the housing development. Part of the developer’s agreement with Stony Acres involves the city constructing Jones Road, currently a dirt road, to put in a lift station, and sewer and water, according to Wojnicz and the developer’s agreement. The cost for the improvements are about $1 million.
Wojnicz hopes the apartment development will lead to additional growth in this section of the city.
Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.
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