NEENAH – Developer Tom Vandeyacht intends to build a $22 million apartment complex on the former nine-hole Bridgewood Golf Course that closed in 2019.
The project would require the city to pay $3.16 million to Vandeyacht, operating as Bridgewood Luxury Apartments, over 15 years to assist with the development.
It also would require the city to build a bridge over the Neenah Slough — known as Neenah Creek within city limits — off Jewelers Park Drive to serve as the primary access to the development and to build a new trail along the south edge of the property between the Jewelers Park Drive Trail and the Harrison Street Trail.
The city’s cost is estimated at $500,000 for the bridge and $150,000 for the trail.
The proposed development agreement will be considered by the Finance Committee this week and could reach the Common Council next week.
Vandeyacht’s development would consist of 268 apartments: one 60-unit building along Harrison Street and 26 eight-unit buildings. Each apartment in the eight-unit buildings would have an attached garage and private driveway.
Chris Haese, Neenah’s director of community development and assessment, said the apartments would be a good fit for the golf course property.
“In terms of floor plans and amenities, they are on the higher end of the rental spectrum compared to some of the other units that are being constructed in the Fox Cities,” Haese said.
Vandeyacht previously developed two other apartment complexes in Neenah: the 184-unit Pendleton Park on the city’s west side and the 53-unit Cobblestone Creek Townhomes on Winneconne Avenue.
“The lease-up rates are very good, so clearly there’s still demand for the units we’re seeing,” Haese said.
Bridgewood Golf Course closed in 2019 due to competition and unpredictable weather and was put on the market for redevelopment.
In March 2021, Bridgewood Golf Course owner Rich Batley said he was working with a potential buyer to build a retirement community on the property, but that project never materialized.
Vandeyacht’s Bridgewood Luxury Apartments would be located east of the Cameron Circle condominiums and south of the Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center and Ground Round Grill & Bar.
Access to the 46-acre development would come from the new bridge off Jewelers Park Drive, in an effort to minimize the effect on the Cameron Circle condominiums, and from Harrison Street.
According to the development agreement, Vandeyacht would:
- Construct the $22 million apartment complex. The schedule calls for the completion of 32 units by the end of 2023 and the completion of the remaining units by 2028.
- Provide easements for publicly owned trails along the west and south edges of the development.
- Allow the city to discharge stormwater into a pond at the southeast corner of the property.
The city would:
- Provide up to $3.16 million over 15 years as a development incentive. The money would be paid in annual installments after sufficient property taxes on the new development have been collected.
- Construct a bridge over the Neenah Slough off Jewelers Park Drive to serve as the primary access to the development. That’s expected to cost $500,000.
- Construct a public trail along the south edge of the development. That’s expected to cost $150,000.
Neenah budgeted $100,000 last year to assist with the redevelopment of the golf course. “There will have to be additional borrowing to support the project,” Haese said.
The city’s investment in the development would be recovered through a newly created tax incremental financing district (No. 12). The golf course lies in TIF District No. 7, but the investment period for that district will end in early July.
When a municipality creates a TIF district, all the additional property taxes generated from new development in the district — the increment — goes toward reimbursing the municipality for any costs or commitments it incurred to bring about that development. The tax revenues from the increment are diverted from the school district, county and technical college for as long as the district is in place.