Racine and Kenosha counties attracting major developments

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As sprawl from the Chicago area continues to push north, and sprawl from the Milwaukee area slowly pushes south, more major real estate developments are being planned in Kenosha and Racine counties.

Some of the latest developments in the works include another proposed high-rise condominium building in downtown Racine, three more large industrial buildings in Kenosha and another shopping center in Pleasant Prairie.

Developer Robert Watring wants to build a 12-story, 134-unit condominium building in downtown Racine, at the southeast corner of Lake Avenue and Eighth Street. The units will sell for $250,000 to $350,000, mostly to empty-nesters from Milwaukee and Chicago, Watring said.

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“We feel Racine has one of the best downtowns, that has been revitalized, in southern Wisconsin,” he said. “The downtown has so much potential for the condo lifestyle. (Condo buyers) want to be able to walk downtown, shop. If (downtown Racine) gets a grocery store, I think it would be the last piece of the puzzle for a condo lifestyle. I think we have a great site for our project, gorgeous views of the lake.”

Watring also is developing a nine-story, 34-unit condominium building in downtown Kenosha. That project is under construction and is expected to be complete next summer.

Watring’s Racine project still must be approved by city officials, and some are asking him to redesign the building. In addition, the city’s design guidelines for the area recommend buildings be no taller than 10 stories. Watring said he hopes to start construction this fall and finish the project in 2009.

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However, Watring isn’t the only developer planning a high-rise residential development in downtown Racine. Waukesha-based KeyBridge Development Group plans to build a $185 million development, called Pointe Blue, with 434 condos, 90 apartments, 75,000 square feet of boat storage and 50,000 square feet of commercial space on a 20-acre site northwest of Lake Michigan and the Root River. The development would include a 15-story building and two eight-story buildings.

“Pointe Blue is going to be a plus for downtown and a plus for me,” Watring said. “I think I can feed off of what they do and they can feed off of me. (The condo developments) will support the commercial businesses downtown. You have to have density to support that stuff.”

Sprawl from the Chicago area has led to a residential development boom in Kenosha County, and that has attracted the interest of retail developers.

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Indianapolis-based Gershman Brown Associates Inc. plans to build a 364,677-square-foot retail development, anchored by Target and J.C. Penney stores, southeast of Highway 50 and 104th Avenue in Pleasant Prairie. In addition to the 126,842-square-foot Target store and the 104,175-square-foot JC Penney store, the development would include a 19,686-square-foot Petsmart store and a 50,000-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods store. The Target store would move to the development from its current location in Kenosha at 7450 S. Green Bay Road. The Petsmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and J.C. Penney stores will be the first for those retail chains in Kenosha County. The development is planned for vacant land south of a Famous Dave’s restaurant and the future site of a 5,520-square-foot TGI Friday’s restaurant.

Other major retail developments that have been previously announced for the Kenosha area include a 700,000-square-foot shopping center that Quality Centers, a Florida-based developer, plans to build on 150 acres northwest of Highway 50 and I-94 in Kenosha. No tenants for the development have been announced yet, but the developer has said it would be a more upscale shopping experience than what currently exists in Racine and Kenosha counties. In addition, Brookfield-based The Simon Group plans to build a 150,000-square-foot retail development in Pleasant Prairie at the northeast corner of Highway 165 and Highway 31.

The I-94 corridor south of Milwaukee has been a hot area for industrial development in recent years. The Kenosha area has been especially active, and two more large industrial buildings are in the works there.

Chicago-based First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. plans to build a 600,000-square-foot distribution center on a vacant site northeast of 52nd Street and 88th Avenue in Kenosha, for Vernon Hills, Ill.-based Rust-Oleum Corp. The plans include room for a future 250,000-square-foot expansion of that building, said Brian Wilke, a development coordinator for the city of Kenosha. The building will occupy more than half of a 70-acre parcel of land that First Industrial purchased last year.

First Industrial regional director Peter Ginn declined to comment on the Rust-Oleum project. However, he said First Industrial is also buying another 100-acre property just to the south. The company will build another industrial park there, which could eventually have 1 million square feet of industrial space, he said.

In addition, Sacramento, Calif.-based Panattoni Development Co. recently broke ground for a new 626,784-square-foot speculative industrial building on a 38-acre site at 10100 58th Place in the Business Park of Kenosha. The building will be the largest in the 200-acre business park. Mike Prost, Sergio Chapa and Rick Delisle of Lee & Associates Chicago office are marketing the building. Later, the company plans to build another similar-sized industrial building in Kenosha.

“With low vacancy and lack of available product over 100,000 square feet, this new industrial building will give owners and tenants the opportunity to have state-of-the-art warehouse/distribution space in a facility that is easily accessible to the Chicago and Milwaukee markets,” said Jason Rosenberg, senior development manager for Panattoni. “We are also planning a 650,000-square-foot facility and we are marketing an additional 13 acres for build-to-suits.”

Kenosha County is a hot spot for industrial development, because of a lack of developable land in Lake County, Ill., Ginn said. As a result, growing firms located north of The Loop in Chicago that need to expand or modernize their industrial space are increasingly considering locations in Kenosha County.

“Kenosha is considered part of the Chicago metro area,” Ginn said. “Everything that is available in Kenosha, people are starting to come in and take a hard look at.”

Land prices in the Chicago area are driven up by the demand for office space and are significantly higher than in Kenosha County, Ginn said. Kenosha land prices are $130,000 to $150,000 an acre, compared to $250,000 to $300,000 an acre in Lake County for industrial land, he said.

Eventually, the industrial space sprawl from Chicago could push even further north. In about five years, much of the I-94 corridor in Kenosha County will be built out and more development pressure from Chicago will push into Racine County, Ginn predicts.

Another factor that could drive more development in Kenosha and Racine counties is if Abbot Park, Ill.-based Abbott Labs moves forward with its plans to build a new campus on 500 acres that it purchased at Highway 165 and I-94 in Pleasant Prairie.

In addition, plans for commuter rail service between Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee, which is being debated by the state Legislature, could also spur more development in Racine and Kenosha Counties. Commuter rail service is already available between Kenosha and Chicago, which has spurred development in downtown Kenosha.

“We’re all hoping the (commuter rail) comes in,” Watring said. “It would be a major plus.”

Although development is continuing at a steady pace in Kenosha County, the slumping housing market has slowed some downtown condo developments. The developers for the nine-story, 87-unit Brindisi development at 714 52nd St. and the five-story Harbor Shores development at 48th Street and Fifth Avenue recently had their conditional use permits for the projects expire.

Aldi planning more stores

Aldi plans to build grocery stores in South Milwaukee and Mukwonago. The 16,800-square-foot South Milwaukee store will be located at 3105 S. Chicago Ave., and the Mukwonago store will be located at the southeast corner of Highway 83 and Arrowhead Drive. Those plans are in addition to earlier announced plans by Aldi to build stores in Greenfield, Oconomowoc and Burlington. Essen, Germany-based Aldi Group has 7,500 stores worldwide, including more than 800 in the United States and 21 in southeastern Wisconsin. Aldi is a chain of small discount grocery stores. Aldi is adding more stores in southeastern Wisconsin because the area’s leading grocer, Pick ‘n Save, has raised its prices, said David Livingston, a grocery industry consultant and managing partner of Pewaukee-based DJL Research.


Megan McCormick plans to open Luna Café in First Place on the River at 106 W. Seeboth. Luna Café will serve cocktails, coffee and desserts and will feature live music and views of the Milwaukee River and downtown skyline. The two-story café will be in a space along the building’s riverwalk segment. First Place on the River is the $45 million redevelopment of the former Terminal Storage Co. building by KeyBridge Development. KeyBridge gutted the four-story building and is adding eight more stories on top of it. When completed, the building will have 154 condominiums and 20,000 square feet of retail space. Luna Café plans to open in November.

Weas Developent plans to develop a 46-lot subdivision for single-family residences at the northeast corner of West Good Hope Road and North 124th Street.


Waukesha-based MRED Cummings plans to build a 14,000-square-foot Walgreens store at the northwest corner of North Avenue and Calumet Drive. A home would be demolished to make way for the store. But, the project is facing some opposition from residents in the neighborhood.

Sheboygan Falls

Milwaukee developer Brian Kliesmet plans to build a 69-room Guest House Hotel and Suites southwest of Highway 32 and Highway 23. The hotel will be built next to a 43,000-square-foot strip mall that Kliesmet developed there. Guest House is a Nashville, Tenn.-based hotel chain with 69 locations in the U.S. The hotel could help Kohler Co. secure the Ryder Cup golf tournament at Whistling Straits. The PGA awarded the tournament to Whistling Straits on the condition that an additional 1,600 quality hotel rooms be built within 40 miles of Sheboygan by 2014.

West Allis

McDonald’s plans to demolish its restaurant at 10915 W. National Ave., southwest of National Avenue and Highway 100, and will build a new McDonald’s restaurant in its place. McDonald’s is rebuilding all of its older restaurants across the country, and has already rebuilt several in southeastern Wisconsin.


NAPA plans to open an auto parts store in a 6,000-square-foot space in Twin City Plaza at 1750 Wisconsin Ave. The addition of the NAPA store means that the 24,000-square-foot building will have 10,248 square feet leased. NAPA says six to 20 people would work at the store.

Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center plans to open a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic in a 4,452-square-foot space in the south building of the Schmit Pavilion at 1381 Port Washington Road. About 15 to 20 people would work at the clinic.


An OfficeMax store and a The Rec Room Plus store will occupy the 33,000-square-foot former Capitol Cinemas building at 1275 Capitol Drive. Brookfield-based Zabest Commercial Group closed the 12-screen movie theater complex to convert it to retail space.


Hartland Station LLC plans to purchase a former railroad baggage depot at 301 Pawling Ave. from the Hartland Historical Society and convert the small building into office space.

Brown Deer

Tri City Bank plans to build a two-story 8,000-square-foot building at the southeast corner of Sherman Boulevard and Bradley Road. The bank will occupy the first floor and will lease out the second floor office space. Dentist Dr. Bruce Newman plans to build a 3,600-square-foot building at the northwest corner of North 44th Street and Bradley Road. The dentist office will occupy 2,400 square feet of space and remaining 1,200 square feet will be leased out. Both the bank and dentist office are moving out of the Commerce Center, a 70,000-square-foot strip mall at the southwest corner of Bradley Road and Sherman Boulevard, which will be demolished and redeveloped by Fox Point-based General Capital Group with 65 residential condos and 16,000 square feet of retail space in two buildings.



Boerke Company

DeVry University leased 7,361 square feet of office space at Stone Ridge III, N14 W23833 Stone Ridge Dr., Pewaukee, from Klement Sausage Company Inc.
Milwaukee Sporting Goods leased 11,500 square feet of flex space at N59 W13395 Silver Spring Dr., Menomonee Falls, from BREOF AIP Wisconsin LLC.
Advance Hearing Aid & Audiology Association LLC leased 1,500 square feet of retail/office space at 620 E. Green Bay Ave., Saukville, from Conservancy Court LLC.
Critters Supply Central LLC leased 12,500 square feet of retail space at 7481 Highway 60, Cedarburg, from Pet Corners LLC.

Dickman Company

Baer Supply leased 4,100 square feet of industrial space at W208 N16919 Center St., Jackson, from Anvil LLC.

Judson & Associates

Milwaukee Office Products leased 3,750 square feet of space at W226 N887 Eastmound Dr., Pewaukee, from Sarah Boschi Trust.
Mukwonago Remodeling leased 2,400 square feet of space at 2103 Grand Ave., Waukesha, from Milwaukee Street Partners.
Badger Truck Centers
Inc. leased 18,600 square feet of space at 11139 W. Becher St., West Allis, from Stevenson Properties LLC.
Insurance Markets leased 600 square feet of space at 11040 Bluemound Road, Wauwatosa, from Bluemound Associates.
KT’s Pack Inc. leased 7,700 square feet of space at 2105 S. 170th St., New Berlin, from Mahoney Properties.
4 P’s In A Pod
leased 1,656 square feet of space at 1930 Bluemound Road, Waukesha, from JAG III & JRG III.
Highstone Management leased 1,627 square feet of space at 2835 N. Grandview Blvd., Waukesha, from Homes for Independent Living of Wisconsin LLC.
Discovery Bancorp leased 2,888 square feet of space at 1341 W. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc, from Discovery Development.
Mattson Technologies leased 4,320 square feet of space at S34 W29942 Little John Dr., Wales, from Genesee Properties.

MLG Commercial

Waukesha Packaging Supply Inc. leased 5,760 square feet of space at 1725 Dolphin Dr., Waukesha, from Hillcrest Business Center LLC.
Prince Telecom Inc. leased 8,000 square feet of industrial space at 2013 S. 37th St., West Milwaukee, from KD 2000 LLC.

Ogden & Company

QTI Professional Staffing renewed their lease for 1,425-square-foot of space and Dr. Robert Dries, Charles Trimberger and Mary Nervig renewed their lease for 1,119 square feet of space in the Oaks Building at 8112 W. Bluemound Road, Wauwatosa.
Aries Lending LLC leased 1,580 square feet of space and Spectrum Healthcare LLC leased 917 square feet of space in the Northern Lights Building at 1661 N. Water St., Milwaukee.


Dickman Company

STAG Capital Partners purchased the 206,800-square-foot industrial building on 8.05 acres at 4041 N. Richards St., Glendale, from 4041 Richards LLC.

MLG Commercial

BJJ Development – Sturtevant LLC purchased the 15,000-square-foot Renaissance Shopping Center at 10351 Washington Ave., Sturtevant, from Spectrum Development Group LLC .
Cornerstone Community Bank purchased a former bank branch at 8607 N. Port Washington Road, Fox Point, from Associated Bank.

Ogden & Company

Oil of Joy Fellowship & Ministries Inc. purchased a 12,536-square-foot building on one acre of land at 111 Prospect Ave., Pewaukee, from Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Juneau Gardens LLC purchased the 45-unit Juneau Garden Apartments building at 1143 N. 29th St., Milwaukee, from Juneau & 29th St. LLC.
Juniper Townhomes LLC purchased the 40-unit Juniper Court Apartments complex at 3700 W. Juniper Court, Milwaukee, from Juniper Court Apartments LLC.

New construction

Anderson-Ashton Inc., New Berlin, was selected by CMK Industries Inc. to design ad build a new 14,600-square-foot office and manufacturing facility at 527 Mitchell St. in Eagle.
J.P. Cullen & Sons, Janesville, will build the new, $14.5 million, 110,000-square-foot Walworth County Lake School in Elkhorn.
Briohn Building Corp., Brookfield, has been contracted to design and build a 20,100-square-foot multi-tenant building for Fabrifast LLC in the Hartford Industrial Park in Hartford. In addition, Briohn has been contracted to design and build an 8,200-square-foot tenant improvement for Unico Spray Products Corp. at 1100 Cottonwood Ave., Hartland. Briohn has also been contracted to design and remodel the Pick ‘n Save grocery store at 2625 S. 108th St., West Allis. Briohn has also been contracted to design and build a 3,000-square-foot tenant build out for Massage Envy in the Brookfield Towne Centre at 19115 W. Capitol Dr., Suite 104, Brookfield.
Gerald Nell Inc., Waukesha, was selected by CPL Industries Inc., 1111 Cedar Creek Road, Grafton,
to design and build a 16,000-square-foot manufacturing addition.
Creative Constructors, Menomonee Falls, recently completed construction of a 10,000-square-foot multi-purpose building with a gymnasium and classrooms on the campus of South Oaks Girls School in Union Grove.

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