Ott Development and Construction Builds New Homes

For a 10-year stretch, hardly any new homes had been built in the City of Merrill and neighboring outskirts. Ryan Ott wanted to change that. He analyzed housing market trends and real estate sales in Northern Wisconsin, and believed there was a growing need for single-family homes in Merrill.

With a background in construction, an entrepreneurial spirit and a drive to work hard, Ryan started building them. Since 2019, his company, Ott Development and Construction, has built about 25 new homes and remodeled many others. His latest endeavor is building eight, new single-family homes on Johnson Street.

 “With increased prices for lumber, materials, etc., the cost of building new homes has gone up,” Ott said. “Thankfully, we’re starting to see costs decline a little bit, which will help us get new homes to prospective buyers at a more affordable cost.”

The property on Johnson Street was formerly owned by Church Mutual Insurance Company and was sold to the City. The City was able to deed the property to Ott as an incentive to build in Merrill instead of Wausau and surrounding municipalities. In the Wausau area, homes are selling for more money, making it more profitable for developers to build there.

“On average, the same house built in the Village of Kronenwetter is selling for $30,000 to $40,000 more because of differences in the real estate market,” Ott said. “For anyone interested in developing in Merrill, there must be an incentive to do it.”

According to Zillow, the typical home value in Merrill is $149,889. In Wausau, it’s $197,744. This value is seasonally adjusted and only includes the middle price tier of homes, according to its website.

So far, two homes are being built on Johnson Street. The rest will be customized for the buyer and will be built after they are purchased. Prices start at about $300,000, and vary depending on the needs of the homeowner. The addition of new housing on Johnson Street will add to the City’s tax base.