A fine line

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:33 pm

    Commercial real estate development in the City of Delavan is popping up at the Interstate 43 and Highway 50 interchange and spreading east along Highway 50.
    The development in the city seems to have sparked the attention of Lake Lawn Resort, located just west on Highway 50 from the interchange, according to Joe Mesler, building zoning commissioner for the city.
    Lake Lawn will present final plans to the Delavan Plan Commission Feb. 8, said Susan Stoga of Carson Stoga Communications. Carson Stoga is the agency of record for Gemstone Resorts International LLC, the Utah-based owner of the resort.
    The plan commission recently approved a 135,000-square-foot Lowe’s store on open land in the Delavan Crossing shopping center. When finished, Lowe’s will become the third anchor tenant and will be located east of a Kohl’s department store and a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
    Two multi-tenant commercial buildings house store fronts, including Quiznos Sub, U.S. Cellular, First Federal Bank and Sonoma Cellars. Panera Bread and Chili’s restaurant occupy two more outlots, and the plan commission recently approved a 10,000-square-foot Aldi grocery store and a 5,000-square-foot Culver’s restaurant.
    The property is owned by Household Finance Corp. in Illinois, and Mid-America Real Estate Group is the broker for the sales of land and leases of storefront space.
    Prior to the Wal-Mart development, the property was a cornfield, Mesler said.
    "We negotiated with them for approximately two years before we approved the Wal-Mart," Mesler said. "The city did not give the developers any incentives, and it turned out to be an excellent project for the city. They are a good neighbor."
    The city is aggressive about development, Mesler said, but because of high standards for signage, landscape and architectural requirements, approvals can be in negotiation for at least two months.
    "We have very high standards in Delavan, and we use high-end materials," Mesler said. "Aldi wanted to build with low-end material, and we made them break it down, and Aldi changed the architectural design to higher standards."
    Delavan Crossings has a remaining 15 acres of commercial property available that continues east, said Dan Merrick, a broker for Mid-America Real Estate.
    "There is a very strong interest in the area because it is nicely situated between Janesville and Beloit," Merrick said. "There is a lot of demand. Wal-Mart went in there and just drove the whole development."
    Lake Lawn Resort announced plans in 2004 for renovation, demolition and new construction work on its 268-acre property. Gemstone Resorts International hopes to have all necessary approvals by March and begin construction this summer, Stoga said.
    "It is going to be a completely new property," Stoga said. "It will retain its current feel and charm in terms of the lakefront, but internally everything will be redone. It will have new, great looking guest rooms and a more updated feel."
    Renovations include remodeling of all of the 284 guest rooms, upgrading the 18-hole golf course and the construction of condominium units, an indoor/outdoor water park and four new restaurants.
    If approved, condominium units will be sold for between $100,000 and $300,000 and will be available for sale this month, Stoga said. Gemstone also plans to replace the current spa area with a new spa in the same space.
    "The ownership is pretty visionary looking into what they can do to enhance the resort and what they can do for the community," Stoga said.
    The redevelopment and upgrading plan has been in the works for well over a year, Stoga said, and has taken into consideration the effect changes could have on the integrity of the community.
    "Demand for the Delavan and Lake Geneva area has always been high, and a four-star property in that area will do very well," Stoga said.
    "We knew Highway 50 would be a very developable corridor," Mesler said. "The council is aware of this and has done its homework as far as smart growth and a master plan."
    And what is Delavan’s master plan?
    "We want to maintain our small-town atmosphere, but we foresee further development," Mesler said. "Properties have been developed the way the city wants them, and if they do not agree we tell them to go to another municipality."
    February 4, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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