Note from the Editor: At Haymarket Landing, Infusion of Vitality Awaits

Nick Meyer

I recently had the opportunity to tour the construction of the new Haymarket Landing building, the “mixed-use” portion of the Confluence Project, that will house nearly 400 upper-level students and a number of businesses when it’s complete in July 2016. We’ve all seen the crane standing tall for several months now as the building ascended six stories around it, but getting a peek inside was another thing altogether. Inside, the flurry of activity was impressive as dozens of DayGlo-green-shirted workers labored to assemble walls and windows. The views from the apartments are impressive as you look down to the rivers and city below. The lucky residents of those spaces will share some useful indoor and outdoor common areas the general public won’t have access to – including a huge roof deck above the first level offering fire pits, grills, trellises, and a small stage that the musically inclined community of students who live there are free to program at any time. Inside they’ll have an underground 160-stall parking deck, study areas and conference rooms, and a shared two-story living room with huge TVs, couches, and more. But for the majority of us, it’s the commercial spaces we’ll interact with most. Currently those aren’t much more than 30,000 square feet of raw, wide-open possibilities. 11,000 of those feet are on the plaza side, where developers envision a large restaurant and bar spilling out onto the patio near the river. The other 20,000-ish square feet are along Barstow Street, where a mix of coffee shops, retailers, and other public outlets are expected to fill in, serving not only the apartments above but bringing life to the street for us all. Thankfully, the responsibility of adding that “life” doesn’t fall on those business alone, because a lot of it will come automatically when you plant nearly 400 active and creative upperclassmen – along with their frequently visiting friends and families – right into the heart of downtown. And that’s really the secret sauce of the whole operation – a move that will serve to infuse even more vitality into the businesses and parks throughout the entire downtown area. It’s that new life force downtown that will create a lasting impact and further shift the culture of Eau Claire’s downtown. And it’s all just a matter of months away ...

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