No buyer yet for land across I-94 from Ikea site

23-acre site receives no qualified bids during receivership auction

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A seemingly valuable piece of land across Interstate 94 from Ikea’s future home in Oak Creek did not attract any bids in a recent auction.

The Ikea site.
The Ikea site.

The 23-acre site, north of Drexel Avenue on the east side of I-94, was to be sold at a receivership auction in Madison in early June, but there were no qualified bidders, said Scott Yauck, president and CEO of Cobalt Partners, who considered buying it.

“The criteria they put on the property was tough for anyone who wanted to put in a bid, so at this point, nothing is happening,” Yauck said. “To me, the minimum price threshold and the limitations on timelines had a chilling effect.”

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The minimum asking price for the land was $4.5 million, which Yauck believes is too much. The parcel includes several acres of wetlands.

Madison attorney Rebecca DeMarb, the property’s court-appointed receiver, did not respond to calls or emails for comment.

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi said he is confident someone will develop the property in the near future.

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“Interest is high on every property in Oak Creek, but forever reason, no one put a bid on this one,” Scaffidi said. “There is so much opportunity in that area. Northwestern Mutual still has 100 acres left. There is a lot of interest in that interchange.”

Last year, Yauck worked with Mike Zimmerman, CEO of The Rock Sports Complex in Franklin, on a bid for the land. Continental Properties was the other bidder on the land and won with a $5.4 million offer. But Continental later dropped its option to purchase and the property went into receivership.

Popular furniture retailer Ikea will be the anchor of a large mixed-use development across I-94 from the site, on land west of the freeway owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. The Swedish retailer will open a 295,000-square-foot, single-story store on 29 acres in the summer of 2018.

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Yauck, who is currently working on mixed-use developments in Menomonee Falls and Greenfield, said while the Ikea development could possibly benefit any potential development he would want to do in Oak Creek, it could also be a challenge.

“It is hard to say how the other land around Ikea will unfold over time,” Yauck said. “Those other parcels and outlots are competition.”

Scaffidi said developers could be waiting to see what Northwestern Mutual does with the rest of its land.

“I’m not worried,” he said. “I’ve had more development meetings in the last month than I’ve ever had in my tenure as mayor. The key word I’m hearing is ‘upscale,’ which is really welcome. We want things that are unique and sometimes not offered in this area or anywhere else in the state.”

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