City of Eau Claire plan commission recommends approval of apartments at old Shopko location

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 10:32 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -One Wisconsin-based company is looking to bring new life to part of the City of Eau Claire with two new apartment buildings.

Back in 2019, the department store Shopko located off of Clairemont avenue in Eau Claire closed its doors.

That building has been closed to the community ever since, but soon that could be changing.

“The developer is requesting 258 units of housing on four stories over two buildings,” said Scott Allen, the community development director for the City of Eau Claire. “They’ll have some underground parking, some surface parking as well. [It’s] gonna be using almost the entirety of the old Shopko footprint as well as its parking lot.”

The applicant for the project, Greywolf Partners, is hoping to break ground this coming March. Part of the work includes completely demolishing the old Shopko building.

When the apartments open in 2024, a spokesperson with Greywolf Partners said it expects most of its tenants will be college students. That’s something the city is hoping will happen.

“Certainly having more options is always a positive thing,” Allen said. “In terms of this type of housing, it would hopefully then bring more students out of the established neighborhoods where it’s been more traditionally single family housing--historic Randall Park neighborhood, Third Ward neighborhood and such.”

Allen said the city hopes that would lead these buildings to once again become single family homes.

For the city, this apartment complex also helps address the need for more housing in general.

Before the project can begin, the company will be required by the city to do a study taking a look at how it could impact traffic in the area.

“It’s important to note in 2019 and earlier, Shopko was a big box retailer, so they had their own traffic demand that was a little different kind of demand, but in terms of number of vehicles and such, it probably won’t be radically different with this type of housing as you saw a couple years ago with Shopko,” Allen said.

At Monday’s plan commission meeting, the commissioners voted to recommend the company’s request for rezoning and the site plan to the Eau Claire City Council.

It’s expected to weigh in on it next week.

A spokesperson for the company did not have any estimates for what rent may be for these apartments.