Eau Claire Apartment Scene: Looking Forward – And Upward
these new and in-progress residential projects could be your next home
The number of planned apartment projects in the City of Eau Claire has been rising – both literally and figuratively.
According to the recent “State of the City” address delivered by City Council President Terry Weld and interim City Manager Dave Solberg, 399 new units of multifamily workforce housing were approved in Eau Claire in 2020. That’s nearly double the number of multifamily units OK’d during the previous year. (And the 399 total doesn’t even include the 276 units approved as part of Timber Bluff Acres on the city’s far southside, which will consist of twinhomes and four-, five-, seven-, and eight-plexes plus a 50-unit development for seniors.)
While it’s a nebulous term, “workforce housing” typically is used to describe apartments that affordable for typical working people – although the rent isn’t subsidized.
A number of Eau Claire’s new apartment projects are reaching toward the sky – at least by Eau Claire’s typical low-rise standards. One is a pair of new five-story apartment towers in downtown, while two other projects involve creating apartments inside historic six-story buildings downtown.
Here is a rundown of some of the most noteworthy apartment projects that are either on the drawing board, underway, or have been recently completed in Eau Claire.
816 Porter Ave., Pablo Group
Offering unparalleled views of the Chippewa River and completed last year, The Guild is an upscale apartment complex inside the former Syverson Lutheran Home in downtown Eau Claire. The four-story building includes 48 units with 20 unique floor plans, ranging in size from 507 square feet to 2,829 square feet. According to the developer, Pablo Group, “Amenities include a guest suite, yoga studio, community rooms, a fitness room with commercial-grade equipment, spacious lobby, and outdoor gathering spaces. ... The Guild provides immediate access to the very best Eau Claire has to offer, while also offering a taste of the quiet life, secluded on the edge of the Third Ward district, against the bank of the Chippewa River, and presenting the very best of home life in the convenience of luxury apartment living.” Learn more at theguildec.com.
131 S. Barstow St., Pablo Group
Construction work began recently inside the six-story building that houses US Bank in downtown Eau Claire. Pablo Group says it is working to preserve Art Deco elements of the historic 1930 building, whose upper floors are being converted into 28 residential units. The apartments will offer views of the nearby Eau Claire River, as well as the rest of the downtown, while the bank and other offices will remain on the building’s lower two floors. The project is expected to be finished by late summer.
S. Farwell St., JCap Real Estate
The Wilson Square project will encompass most of a block on South Farwell Street, between Seaver and Emery streets, next to Wilson Park. Plans call for two four-story buildings containing 115 apartments. The apartments are now intended to be rented at market rate, although the project was originally planned for senior citizens. While the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have delayed the project somewhat, demolition on the site began recently. Learn more at jcaprealestate.com.
204 E. Grand Ave., JCap Real Estate
This historic six-story structure was built in 1930 as the Scandinavian American Fraternity Building and most recently housed a Wells Fargo bank. Now the top four floors are being converted into 25 apartments, which are expected to be ready in the near future. J Cap plans to lease the first two floors to commercial tenants, and the company plans to add a unique feature to the building’s roof: the Grand Rooftop Bar, which was recently approved by the Eau Claire City Council. Learn more at jcaprealestate.com.
If you think you’ll be in the market for a rental in the next year or two, keep your ears to the ground for updates about a number of other ongoing projects. In early March, P&R Properties of Duluth, Minnesota, announced it is negotiating with the city to build a $53 million apartment complex in the Cannery District on the west bank of the Chippewa River. (Read more details here.) Pablo Group is in the process of renovating the historic Salsbury Row House (302-310 W. Grand Ave.) into the Salsbury Flats, which will be offered as five condominium units. The three-story, 71-unit Current apartment building (1750 N. Oxford Ave.) opened recently, and construction is expected soon on the second phase of the project just to the south. In 2019, developer SC Swiderski of Mosinee received city zoning approval to build 570 apartment units in the northwest corner of Eau Claire, west of Kane Road, although that project hasn’t begun yet. Likewise, approvals have been granted, but work hasn’t started, on HK Development’s plan to build 288 apartments on Lorch Avenue, near Action City and Metropolis Resort.