The City of Sturgeon Bay is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help redevelop the former Younkers department store space located in downtown Sturgeon Bay. The property is the largest retail building in the downtown.
The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will support the renovation of the long-vacant building into a new retail center that will include an accessories and home furnishings store and additional retail space. The project is expected to be completed by October of this year.
“This project provides multiple benefits to Sturgeon Bay,” said Mayor David Ward. “Not only does it fill the huge hole caused by the loss of Younkers, it allows a locally owned business to expand and, importantly, the project will include public restrooms through a partnership with the city.”
Todd Trimberger and Kelton Reitz are the sole members of the newly registered SBLifeIsGood LLC. They acquired the property to renovate for its future use.
Trimberger is the owner of Bliss, an accessories and home furnishings store on Jefferson Street in Sturgeon Bay that has been operating for about 19 years. Along with owning various retail businesses over the last 30 years, Trimberger was also the Main Street director and executive director of the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center/Chamber of Commerce for about eight years. Reitz is an internist at the Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay.
The renovated building will have a total of 20,070 square feet of leasable space. The Bliss home furnishings store will occupy the majority of the main floor, as Trimberger wants to expand the business and relocate to the former Younkers building. There is space for additional retail businesses and related uses in the lower and upper levels and a portion of the main floor, and they are actively pursuing tenants for the space.
The building needs renovation and has had considerable deferred maintenance. In addition, it needs updates to bring it in line with modern building and accessibility codes. The project includes the removal of a now-obsolete underground tunnel and aboveground skywalk.
The city and the developer have also reached an agreement to include public restrooms in the building, as the only restrooms are located in the basement and don’t meet accessibility guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act.