Patience pays off

20-acre mixed-use project in Union Grove was delayed for seven years

Developer John Bernhardt had dirt moving on the future site of the Maple Grove commercial center on Highway 11 in Union Grove a couple weeks before a mid-April groundbreaking ceremony.
His interest in getting started was understandable, given that the project has been delayed for seven years.
The project will include a 30,000-square-foot Piggly Wiggly grocery store, an 8,000-square-foot retail strip and additional outlot development.
The Maple Grove project had been saddled by expensive requirements by the Union Grove Village Board.
A subdivision bordering the Maple Grove site on the north drains directly to the land Bernhardt was developing, and Bernhardt was required to handle the flow.
"We have a stormwater retention pond that is more than five acres in size," Bernhardt said. "The subdivision just to the north dumps an incredible amount of water on our project – water that used to head north. There was an old farmer’s drain tile on our site that used to carry that excess water away."
Bernhardt is also saddled with the cost of a sanitary sewer lift station to service not only his project, but also a total of 100 acres that might be developed in the future.
Bernhardt owns 40 acres of land south of Highway 11, but even if all of that property is developed within the timeline set in his developer’s agreement, he will not recover the $340,000 the lift station will cost.
"There is the potential that we might receive a quarter or a half of the lift station reimbursed back to us," Bernhardt said. "The lift station cost is estimated around $220,000, and the cost of putting it on the other side of the road and running the sewer under there is $120,000."
The other issue that hung up the project with the village board, according to village records, was the relatively high density of the project.
Work is under way on grading for the site, and a split-face concrete block Piggly Wiggly building should be completed within three months. Ground should also be broken this year on a model condominium unit.
"I hope to sell 10 units this year," Bernhardt said of the condos, adding that the units range from 1,500 to 1,800 square feet and will be priced at about $199,000.

May 2, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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