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Student downtown living in the works

The downtown retail and student apartment complex that is part of the Confluence Project now has a name: Haymarket Landing. The name pays homage to that historic site as a place for public gatherings and commerce.

The mixed-use building, to be located at the corners of South Barstow and Eau Claire streets, will have retail and commercial space on the first floor and five stories of apartments above. Plans call for 119 apartments that will range in size from studio to four bedrooms. The apartments will be suitable for university students but also would be available to nonstudent tenants.

Haymarket Concepts LLC, the private developer that owns the properties where the Confluence Project would be built, comprises Blugold Real Estate, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation that will own the housing component, and Mar-Com, a partnership between Commonweal Development and Market & Johnson, which will own the retail component.

Blugold Real Estate is playing a key role in the mixed-use building to support development of much-needed quality student housing in Eau Claire, said Neil Lipinski, chair of the Blugold Real Estate Committee.

As part of its 20-year Campus Facilities Master Plan, UW-Eau Claire conducted a comprehensive housing demand study. The study determined current university student housing exceeds 100 percent capacity and that there is significantly more demand for university housing than is available.

There is a clear need for quality housing for UW-Eau Claire students both on campus and in the community, Lipinski said.

"The Foundation board of directors recognizes this need and has committed to the development of student apartments through Blugold Real Estate," Lipinski said. "As UW-Eau Claire alumni and friends, we know that a tangible such as access to quality and safe housing is a critical consideration in a student's decision to attend a college. Our mission is to do everything possible to help UW-Eau Claire retain an important competitive advantage. There is a value-added element to having the student apartments in close proximity to the planned Confluence arts center. The living-learning environment that will exist is very appealing."

Construction on the mixed-use building began in fall 2014 and is expected to be completed by June 1, 2016. Information about retail and apartment renting opportunities will be available in early 2015.