Development will proceed in Menomonee Falls

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The $150 million in commercial real estate development planned for the 120 acres surrounding the Strong Financial Corp. headquarters in Menomonee Falls will go forward, regardless of the ultimate fates of the company or its founder, Richard Strong.
Heritage Reserve Holding LLC was formed to separate the real estate development from the financial services company.
Heritage Reserve Holding plans a variety of upscale development in the land around Good Hope Road and Appleton Avenue, including a medical service building, a hotel or conference center, retail stores, a bank, a senior housing complex, several more office buildings and upscale apartments and condominiums.
Some Menomonee Falls residents and development executives have been worried that the ambitious plans will be in jeopardy because of the uncertain fates of Strong Financial Corp. and its founder.
In recent months, Richard Strong has been implicated in investigations over possible illegal trading on Wall Street. Strong has resigned as president and chief executive officer of the company.
The company is now for sale.
Jefferson Davis, village president of Menomonee Falls, is hopeful that the buyer of Strong Financial will keep the headquarters open and keep the jobs in the village.
"Dick Strong has made it very clear that that is his intent, that anyone who wants to buy the firm would have to keep it here in Menomonee Falls," Davis said. "We’re moving forward. We’re in contact with Strong Funds once a week."
Bruce Behling, president of Heritage Reserve Holding, said the surrounding commercial real estate development will proceed, even though "everybody wants a piece" of Richard Strong.
"It’s on his list of priorities. I can’t speak for Dick," Behling said. "But I talk to Dick Strong every day, and Dick is as committed to Heritage Reserve Holdings as he has ever been."
Richard Strong and other Strong Capital Management officials are the investors behind Heritage Reserve Holding.
Regardless, John Kuhn, president of JBK Properties Inc., the Glendale company that is developing the medical center in the Heritage Reserve complex, is confident in the ultimate value of the new development and the demographics that support it.
"Certainly, if the 1,300 Strong employees aren’t there anymore, that will be a distinct disadvantage. But our project will be going forward, regardless of what the end results will be," Kuhn said. "It’s a very exciting project to be involved in. It’s a very viable project.
Steve Holzhauer, principal at Eppstein Uhen Architects, the Milwaukee company that is devising the master site plan for the Heritage Reserve complex, said the medical clinic will be fueled by its close proximity to U.S. Highway 45 and the growing baby boom retirement population in the region.
"The demographics are ideal, and this is only 18 minutes from downtown (Milwaukee)," Holzhauer said.
The new Strong projects will be linked by a series of streetscaping improvements, green space, lighting, ponds and walkways.
"This is as close to out-of-the box thinking in the medical world and the real estate world that I can think of," Behling said.

Feb. 20, 2004 Small Business Times. Milwaukee

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