Developer selected for Port Washington bluff land

Black Cap Halcyon plan includes at least 195 homes, commercial space

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A team led by Milwaukee-based development group Black Cap Halcyon, LLC has been selected to develop 44 acres of underutilized land along Lake Michigan in Port Washington.

Rendering of the project by Kubala Washatko Architects
Rendering of the project by The Kubala Washatko Architects.

The $54 million project, to be called Prairie’s Edge, tentatively includes two and three-story townhomes with 177 units and 18 cottages, approximately 21,000 square feet of commercial space and 10,000 square feet of public space.

The project will likely break ground in spring 2018 and will be developed in three phases over about three years.

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“We don’t want to flood the market,” said Anthony Polston, founder and principal of Black Cap Halcyon. “There has been a lot of new apartment construction, not so much in Ozaukee County or Port, but we want to stage it out.”

The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc. is designing  the project and Altius Building Company is the construction manager.

In January, three firms submitted plans to the city to develop the parcel, which is owned by the city, south of the We Energies plant, 700 Sunset Road.

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Polston learned Wednesday his project was chosen after the Port Washington Common Council voted unanimously this week to begin negotiations for Black Cap Halcyon, LLC on the sale of the the land.

Black Cap will buy the parcel from the city for $2.86 million and has requested up to $1.5 million to assist with improvements to provide public access and use of 17 acres immediately adjacent to Lake Michigan and the beach, said Randy Tetzlaff, director of planning and development with the city of Port Washington.

The group is not asking for public financing for the project, but has asked the city for support in obtaining state and federal grants to help fund the development of the public walkways and the areas around the bluff, Polston said.

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The development will connect to downtown Port Washington to the north and extend south to the newly proposed Cedar Vineyards housing development.

“Our goal is to use traditional financing for the private component and only seek public assistance where there is a clear public benefit,” Polston said.

The city purchased the property more than a decade ago when We Energies renovated its power plant.

The land has 2,000 feet of lake frontage and is located on a bluff that rises 90 feet above the water. As an option, the adjacent 11.32 acres of land to the north that is owned by We Energies is also available.

Polston is still considering the We Energies parcel for a hillside amphitheater and outdoor event space, but has not yet committed to purchasing the site.

“It would be nice to develop it as public space, and we still think it could be an option but it has no economic value to us,” Polston said. “We would need some assistance from the city and they have not been interested in pursuing that.”

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