Viroqua housing project moving forward, public information meeting at City Hall Monday

Viroqua, Wis. – A housing development that has been proposed for downtown Viroqua continues to move forward and the developer for the project, Northpointe Development, plans a public information session about the project for Monday, June 26 at 5:00 p.m. at the Viroqua City Hall Community Room.

For those interested in meeting virtually, the Zoom meeting will also begin at 5:00pm.

The 65 unit three story housing complex that will include underground parking, a daycare facility and retail space is proposed for the site where the old county highway shop currently sits on Main Street in downtown Viroqua. Northpointe says they development will be workforce housing which means rents will be subsidized through tax credits, making them more affordable. In order for Northpointe to qualify for those tax credits they will be required to offer specific percentage of units for various income levels. Below is a breakdown of those rents based on income levels from the information provided by Northpointe and posted on the city of Viroqua website.

The project originated when Northpointe, who has offices in Oshkosh, Wis. as well as Illinois and Colorado, applied for an received a $6.1 million grant from the state of Wisconsin to develop the site. The grant came from the states Neighborhood Investment Fund Grant program that was funded through the Biden administrations American Rescue Plan Act. Governor Evers set aside $200 million of the states ARPA funds for major capital projects including housing.

The city is working with Northpointe and the county to help move the project forward and will be able to use TIFF or TID (tax incremental finance district) funding to help pay from some of the development including utilities, street improvements, sidewalks, lighting and site development. Using a TID the city can pay for those improvements upfront and in return will get all the tax from the property initially to pay off those improvements. Once the TID is ended (usually 20 years) the increased tax base will be go to the local units of government (city, county, school districts) as usual.

The actual sale of the property from Vernon County to Northpointe has not been finalized, but there is a projected closing date of November. The city, the county and Northpointe have agreed on a price and the sale in principle but are working through some contingencies including environmental testing and cleanup.

The county put the property up for sale after they built a new highway shop north of Viroqua in 2019. Since that time the old highway shop has been used for storage and to house equipment belonging to the Vernon County Emergency Department. One of the sticking points on the sale was the county reluctance to give up a large heated storage building. Northpointe initially offered the county $500,000 for the site through an open bidding process but the county rejected that offer. At that point Northpointe had not yet been awarded the state grant and their offer was contingent on receiving that grant. Once Northpointe was awarded the state grants they were able to reach an agreement on a sale price of $800,000. Vernon County is in the process of using the $800,000 along with additional grant funding to build a new building to house Emergency Management at a cost of about $2 million. That building is still in the design phase and has been been approved by the county board, but if approved would be built near the sheriff’s office or the Erlandson office building.

That testing for environmental contamination at the old highway shop has taken a bit longer than anticipated and the county has granted Northpointe two extensions to have access to the property to do that testing. One of the contingencies in the sale is that the buyer will be responsible any potential clean up and Northpointe has been seeking state funding for any cleanup work it will be responsible for. All parties have said in recent public meetings they are confident they can still have the deal completed by November. construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2024. Northpointe stated in its presentations that it will seek investors for the project and the overall budget for the project could be in the $18 to $20 million range.

There have been a couple of public meetings and community feedback sessions regarding the project already. One meeting in particular at the Viroqua Schools in October of 2022 drew about 50 people in person and a number more online. That meeting included breakout groups and feedback from community members on concerns and things residents wanted to see in the project. Many of those suggestions were subsequently incorporated into the design by Northpointe. The city also made some detailed presentations on the project including one from City Administrator Nate Torres to the city council in September of 2022.

Below is the information posted on the city website about the project with additional links to resources about the project:

Main Street Apartments Development Project

The City of Viroqua encourages area residents and stakeholders to share their feedback with representatives from Northpointe Development on a proposed concept plan for the property at 602 North Main St. in Viroqua. 

Informational materials from Northpointe’s first neighborhood meeting – including the conceptual site plan, floor plans, and building renderings can be viewed in the presentation document here:

Northpointe Neighborhood Meeting 10-5-22 presentation (2).   

Main Street Apartments – Site Plan – Neighborhood Meeting – 10.05.2022

Feedback on the proposed plans are welcome and encouraged.  Feedback may be given through this online option: Link to Survey

Main Street Apartments – Development Schedule

                                                        Main Street Apartments

                                                      Frequently Asked Questions

Who should I contact with any additional feedback or questions as it relates to Main Street Apartments?

Feedback Survey:

Northpointe Development: Jake Victor;

City of Viroqua: Nate Torres;

What is being proposed for 602 N. Main Street in the City of Viroqua?

Northpointe Development is proposing to construct sixty-five units of multifamily housing, a minimum of 2,400 square feet of retail space for local businesses, and a 6,000 square foot childcare facility. The layout of buildings and parking, ingress/egress points, architectural designs, and open space elements have not been finalized. These items will not be finalized until Northpointe seeks approval of a Specific Implementation Plan – in the meantime, all site plans shared with the community are concepts and are subject to feedback from the community. Units will be income and rent restricted to households earning between 30 and 80% of Area Median Income.. 

Below are Northpointe’s renderings of what the development will look like. Keep in mind the these drawings and information slides are from previous presentations and some of the details may have changed since that time.

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