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Baraboo apartment complex along river gets nod

June 22, 2018 GMT

A 70-unit apartment building overlooking the Baraboo River won unanimous support Tuesday from the Plan Commission.

Capitol Housing is buying 1.6 acres at 325 Lynn St. from the city. A month after making a preliminary proposal, the developer returned with a more concrete site plan. The former tire store and auto repair shop would be replaced by a multilevel complex built into the hillside, growing from two stories at street level to four stories overlooking the river.

“That site drops like a rock,” said Greg Held of Knothe & Bruce Architects of Middleton.

He presented plans for a building featuring one-bedroom, two-bedroom and efficiency apartments, as well as common areas and parking stalls.

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Capital Housing co-owner Tim Cummings said the building could invigorate the city’s effort to redevelop what once was its main business district. “I was drawn to it because of the history,” he said.

“It’s a challenging site, there’s no doubt about it,” said his partner Bill McDonough. “This area needs to start somewhere.”

Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve Capitol Housing’s development plans.

“I think it’s a great re-use of that property,” Commissioner Patrick Liston said.

Two-bedroom apartments measure 1,100 square feet. One-bedroom apartments cover 750 feet. Many units will enjoy riverfront views.

“These are not small apartments,” Commissioner Roy Franzen said.

Commissioners asked the builder and architects to return with colored renderings and a landscaping plan. A decision on rezoning the property will be made next month. Meanwhile, the commission’s recommendation to approve the development plan will go to the Common Council.

The city acquired the property several years ago from Sauk County for back taxes. It lies next to Circus World’s library.

The property is an active Petroleum Environmental Cleanup Fund Award site: Federal funds are being used to clean it up. The city’s plan always has been to clean up the property and sell it.

Cummings said last month that he hopes to begin site work by fall and set the foundation before winter. That could allow for the first phase of construction to conclude in time to rent some apartments late next spring. The entire project may take two years to complete.