Changes create confusion about Confluence Project - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Changes create confusion about Confluence Project


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Changes to a major downtown project may be creating some confusion.

In May, developers announced they will not pursue state funding for the student housing portion of Eau Claire's confluence project.  Instead, it will be privately funded.  The number of student beds was also reduced.  Last year, the Landmarks Commission released a report, urging developers to protect historic buildings along Barstow Street that are in the project's footprint. Last night, at the landmarks commission meeting, members discussed possibly amending that report, believing the scope of the project had been altered after developers announced changes.  They were hoping a smaller footprint was in store, which would protect the Barstow buildings.

"What they originally proposed was a joint public-private partnership with the university on that dorm, and since it's been proposed to reduce the size and the value of that new student housing or mixed use development... so that part of it has changed," says Dave Strobel, with the Landmarks Commission.

We reached out to Commonweal Development on Tuesday afternoon for comment.

"We've talked about some reduction in scale, but it hasn't altered the footprint. We haven't gone through a final site plan approval process, that's still in front of us, and our plans to some extent are evolving. We'll be having discussions with city council regarding the project in the very near future," said Commonweal Development.

They'll be having discussions with the city council regarding the project in the very near future.

The company says the only change that's been made is the reduction of the number of beds, from 375 to about 300. That means there will be four floors for student housing instead of five, but the footprint of the building hasn't changed.  Some South Barstow buildings would still have to come down under the current plans.  There will be a public work session on the confluence project on July 15th.

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