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July 29, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Massive windmill may power Downtown Project’s latest venture

Another bar-restaurant venue — this one includes a 90-foot windmill — is planned for Fremont Street, courtesy of the Downtown Project.

In plans submitted with the city, two buildings in the 1000 block of Fremont will be rehabbed and turned into a 14,000-plus square-foot facility, with an outdoor amphitheater that seats 180 between the two buildings.

The two buildings are at 1023 and 1031 Fremont, currently empty buildings.

Documents filed with the city in application for special-use permits say the place will be called The Wheelhouse, with the windmill being more than simple decoration — it will create electricity for the facility.

The two existing buildings targeted for repurposing are currently owned by the Downtown Project, purchased in late 2012, two of several parcels purchased on the block for $7.9 million. One of the buildings is about 4,700 square feet; the other is 5,500 square feet. Between them is an open space that schematics portray as an outdoor theater.

Plans say the outdoor theater will include an added 900-square-foot mezzanine.

The special-use permits are for the windmill, the outdoor entertainment area and the limited-use tavern.

Demonstrating the breadth of the Downtown Project’s ownership of land in the area, of nearly 40 notices sent out to properties within 500 feet of the proposal, which is required by city ordinance, almost all went to properties owned by the Downtown Project. They were also returned signifying “approval” of the project.

The Planning Commission will consider the matter at its Jan. 14 meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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