Settlement would revive Fowler Lake condo project in Oconomowoc

Developers guarantee $20 million value by 2020

A 2014 rendering of the Fowler Lake Village project.

A long-planned condo project in downtown Oconomowoc would receive expedited consideration under a settlement agreement approved by the city’s Common Council this week.

A 2014 rendering of the Fowler Lake Village project.
A 2014 rendering of the Fowler Lake Village project.

The agreement between the city and Fowler Lake Village LLC and Rockwell Development LLC would also settle an ongoing lawsuit filed against the city and common council after the council rejected the proposed 31 unit mixed-use condo project in 2014. The city’s Community Development Authority first signed a memorandum of understanding for the project in 2012.

Oconomowoc is the process of developing the Fowler Lake shoreline, adding a boardwalk, dock and other public works projects. Some of those improvements are for city land where the Fowler Lake Village project was originally slated to go. The agreement would prevent the city from allowing any private development on the land included in the shoreline project.

The agreement also calls for the city to give the developers a city-owned parcel at 121 St. Paul Ave., across the street from the original site of the project. Fowler Lake Village LLC also owns several other parcels along St. Paul and East Pleasant streets.

The agreement establishes the proposed condo project is, in principal, consistent with city zoning and development codes. The building would not exceed the city’s 70-foot height limitation but could include stepped back fifth and sixth floor condominium penthouses.

In addition to the 31 condo units, the original proposal called for eight live/work storefronts and 6,000 square feet of restaurant space. The project would have had an estimated value of $18.7 million.

The agreement says the developers plan to move ahead with a mixed-use project and are now guaranteeing the project will be valued at $20 million by 2020. If the project comes up short, the developers will pay the property taxes on the difference in value. The city would also have to reimburse the developers for property taxes if the value rises above $22 million.

“My clients are pleased that an agreement which benefits all parties involved has been approved and they look forward to working with the city to successfully complete the project,” said Jim Hammes, an attorney for the developers from Cramer, Multhauf and Hammes LLP.

The city will also provide developers with $450,000 in economic development grants for public improvements to support the project.

The settlement calls for a final vote on the development plan within 180 days of the agreement becoming effective.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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