By Michael Leischner
STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) -- A ceremonial groundbreaking- rather, snow-shoveling, was held Monday in downtown Stevens Point for a first of its kind senior housing development.
General Capital Group will build an 88-unit complex in a current city parking lot at 3rd and Water Street aimed at helping seniors age in place together with easy access to all the downtown has to offer.
"What we do too often is we separate seniors from children, from families. The idea of living in a real, true community is when you have everybody. This involves seniors," said Sig Strautmanis with General Capital. "What we've found is that active seniors want to get out and enjoy life, walk to places.
"They want to go to businesses, they want to hang out," he added.
That's why his group worked with the city and the state to make the $8.7 million project happen over the course of a year. When completed, the development will feature a rooftop patio, covered parking, and on-site management office and other features for residents.
Additionally, Capital Group will develop a commercial office space at the street level and other pedestrian features such as landscaping and benches.
Strautmanis says his group has no plans for what will go in the commercial space but says they are looking for a community service type business to fill that location.
In addition to the services offered on-site, Strautmanis says residents will also have easy access to Ruby Roasters Coffee house and the downtown library.
"This is really the perfect spot for this kind of housing. Seniors can live here, they can walk a couple of blocks to businesses. It's really exciting from that perspective."
He also notes that the site received a very high walkability score.
Work will officially begin on the site within the next few weeks. Strautmanis says his group will be opening a leasing office in Stevens Point later this year to begin filling the units. He anticipates the building being ready for tenants by January 2021.
General Capital has secured some $1.5 million in federal and state housing credits to make the project happen. They also purchased the parking lot from the city, which Mayor Mike Wiza jokingly thanked them for because it means the city will no longer have to plow the lot in the winter.
Others on hand for Monday's ceremonial groundbreaking included State Representative Katrina Shankland, officials from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, and Todd Kuckkahn of the Portage County Business Council.