GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- The apartment project that is supposed to anchor Green Bay's Shipyard District is being delayed for a second time.
It's been two years since an Iowa-based developer, Merge Urban Development, signed a development deal to build 238 apartment units on the western edge of the Fox River.
On Thursday afternoon, Green Bay’s Redevelopment Authority agreed to alter that deal to give the developer more time to start construction.
“We've actually been working through several logistical issues in terms of just timing, working through design elements, soils, issues on site,” said Green Bay Economic Development Director Neil Stechschulte.
The two four-story apartment buildings were originally supposed to be completed by the end of this year.
The reworked deal calls for Merge to pay penalties if it doesn't start meeting deadlines, including an updated site plan and building architecture by July 1.
FOX 11 asked Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich if this is do or die time for the project.
“Yes, I mean, I think it is,” said Genrich. “It's really critical for us to continue to push forward on that site. There is a reason it hasn't been developed in over 30 years since the city acquired it from Fort Howard.”
The requirements built into the updated deal are giving city leaders confidence the project will get done.
“If it doesn't, we'll look for somebody else, but we continue to have trust in Merge,” said Genrich.
Meanwhile, work is underway at the Shipyard site on a public boardwalk, floating dock and kayak launch. That work is expected to be done by the end of this year, according to Genrich.
It's been almost five years since the city council approved borrowing $10 million for the public part of the Shipyard. The plan has been to use tax revenue from new development in the district to pay back that money, keeping it off the tax levy. That is what makes getting this project going, and others in the area, so important, according to city leaders.
“In order for that to work, we have to see private development that pays taxes because that's the tax revenue that, in turn, pays for the debt on the Shipyard,” said Green Bay Alderperson Brian Johnson.
The city currently owns the 5.66 acres where the apartments are to be built.
When the project is done, the site is expected to have an assessed value of $21 million.
The development agreement calls for phase two of the Shipyard's public amenities to start going in one year after there is occupancy at the apartments. That phase includes a great lawn for concerts and events, a dog park, urban beach, playground and splash pad.
Some good news for another site that could help pay for those public amenities: the Biden administration announced it is providing $1 million to help clean up the former Badger Sheet Metal site, which is across the street from the Shipyard property.
Last year, the Redevelopment Authority approved a term sheet with developer Impact Seven to spend $60 million to build another 238 apartment units on the site.
Genrich says he's hopeful updated plans will be presented soon.