Claim filed over denial of Gasthaus redevelopment

Panda Restaurant Group subsidiary seeking at least $3 million

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A subsidiary of Panda Restaurant Group is laying the groundwork for a potential lawsuit against the city of Waukesha after the proposed redevelopment of the Weissgerber’s Gasthaus site was denied.

CFT Developments filed a notice of claim after traffic issues sunk a proposed redevelopment of the Gasthaus in Waukesha.

CFT Developments LLC, which is registered to Rosemead, California-based Panda Restaurant Group, owner of Panda Express Restaurant, has been trying since April to redevelop the site at the corner of Silvernail Road and North Grandview Boulevard.

The proposals called for a number of small retail and restaurant spaces on the site, but concerns about traffic patterns in the area led the Plan Commission to deny the proposal in July after initially sending it back for more work in April.

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The developer has appealed the decision to the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals and the issue is currently set for the Nov. 7 meeting.

In the meantime, CFT Developments has filed a notice of claim with the city seeking damages potentially in excess of $3 million.

The claim argues that the issues identified by the Plan Commission previously existed and continue to exist at that intersection.

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“By denying the development … the city is stating that no development can occur on the property until the existing traffic problems are rectified,” the claim says.

Attorneys for the developer go on to argue that by denying the proposal “the city took all or substantially all of the use of the property, as it is prohibiting development of a parcel of real estate due to pre-existing issues that are not caused solely by the use of that parcel.”

Filing the notice of claim sets the stage for a potential lawsuit against the city. Waukesha city attorney Brian Running noted in a memo to the Common Council that the developer had to file notice within 120 days of the denial to be able to file the lawsuit.

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He recommended the city formally disallow the claim, which would force CFT Developments to file any lawsuit within six months instead of waiting up to six years.

The Common Council is scheduled to consider the claim on Tuesday.

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