River Hills multi-family proposal back after being withdrawn last year

Village board to consider 154-unit apartment project at Wednesday meeting

Rendering by HGA.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:47 pm

A plan to develop multi-family housing in River Hills is once again scheduled to be considered by the village less than a year after an identical proposal was dropped.

River Hills project rendering by HGA.

On Wednesday, the village’s Board of Trustees are set to hear about, and possibly take action on, a proposal that would allow the construction of 154 apartments across five three-story buildings on the 53-acre Eder farm, located on West Brown Deer Road between Spruce Road and Range Line Road.

The proposal is identical to one introduced last year by Milwaukee-based developer Mandel Group. However, Mandel is not involved in this newest proposal, which was introduced by property owner Randle River Hills LP.

Jonathan Eder of Randle River Hills said an agreement with Mandel allowed him to put forward the same project plan if the developer wasn’t able to move forward with it.

The development, known as The Farm at River Hills, includes the 154 luxury apartment units, with those being a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, as well as a standalone clubhouse featuring a fitness center, club room and lounge area, outdoor pool and sun deck. Additionally, more than 90% of the property would remain green space.

If approved by village officials and eventually built, this would be the first River Hills apartment development.

The identical development from Mandel was met with criticism from a number of residents. The developer ultimately withdrew its proposal from consideration just before a scheduled public hearing last July. At that time, Mandel said it would only bring the proposal back is if the village requested it, River Hills village manager Tammy LaBorde said.

Eder said he thinks the project is an appropriate fit for the area. He pointed out that existing non-residential uses exist along this section of Brown Deer Road, such as a school building and places of worship. Regardless of whether it’s approved by the village, Eder said the development should be taken to a vote.

“There was a vocal group that was against it, we know that and understand that,” Eder said. “We heard from very many people that were for it.”

He added that those who were in support of the project were largely silent, in part because they worried how their neighbors might react to their support.

The project is currently without a developer, but Eder said he doesn’t expect it would be hard to find one if the village approves his proposal.

Critics of the proposed development argued that it would alter the unique character and makeup of the village, and that it would set the precedent to bring in more commercial development along both Brown Deer and Good Hope roads.

Representatives of the citizen group Save River Hills, which opposed the identical proposal last year, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Get our email updates

Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.