Port Washington bluff land draws three development proposals

Projects blend residential and commercial

Three firms have come forward with plans to redevelop 44 acres of underutilized land along Lake Michigan in Port Washington into a mixed-use development.


The parcel, which is owned by the city, south of the We Energies Plant, 700 Sunset Road, 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 could also be available.

The proposed projects for the land are:

“Seven Hills Farm,” by Shaffer Development LLC and Mayer Helminiak Architects LLC:

Seven Hills Farm is a green development with a sustainable farm providing for a farm-to-table community along the shores of Lake Michigan. Walking trails and bike paths will connect 346 residents to downtown Port Washington and the Cedar Vineyards to the south. A community club house and tram to the beach is proposed. The homes will include condominiums, townhomes and multi-family homes.

“Watercolor.” The development team includes Sawall Development, Stephen Perry Smith Architects Inc., Renew Port Holdings LLC and SEH Inc.:

Watercolor is a mixed-use residential development with 249 units comprised of four integrated neighborhoods that would consist of a cluster of housing types surrounding a central common green space that overlook Lake Michigan. The residences would transition from north to south, and apartments to townhouses to single family units.

“Prairie’s Edge,” by development team Black Cap Halcyon LLC, The Kubala Washatko Architects LLC and Altius Building Co.: 

Prairie’s Edge is a mixed-use and public-use project that mixes 177 residential units and commercial. Residences will consist of two and three-story structures, two-story townhomes and 18 detached cottages. More than 39,000 square feet of  commercial space would be provided in four buildings and there would be 10,000 square feet of public and private event space. On the adjacent We Energies land, an area referred to as Beacon Commons would provide outdoor event space, including a hillside amphitheater.

The city issued an RFP for the property in October asking for a mixed-use development plan that provides public accessibility to the Lake Michigan bluff and scenic viewpoints of the lake. It also specified that the development assists in the connectivity to downtown Port Washington to the north and to the proposed bike and pedestrian connection extending south to the newly proposed Cedar Vineyards development.

The RFP closed at 4 p.m. Friday.

It was expected that Ansay Development of Port Washington would submit a plan; however, Randy Tetzlaff, director of planning and development for the city, said city officials heard a few weeks ago Ansay was no longer interested.

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

Tetzlaff said the proposals will be reviewed by a committee that includes city officials, a design review board and We Energies. Each developer will make presentations to the City Council on Feb. 7 and a decision could be made at the Feb. 21 meeting.

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