Wauwatosa-based developer NexJenn is planning a mixed-use project that features apartments, retail space and public outdoor space near the southeast corner of North Main Street and West Freistadt Road in Thiensville.
Partners Trish Ullrich and Maggie Beach, working with Greg Uhen, CEO and managing partner of design at Eppstein Uhen Architects, have drawn up conceptual plans for the development known as Hawthorne Square. These plans include a pair of three-story apartment buildings with units ranging from one to three bedrooms, as well as two retail buildings.
The development site is currently vacant land to the east, southeast and south of the Walgreens store at 278 N. Main St. One apartment building is planned at the northeast corner of the development area, just east of the Walgreens, and will have 36 units, while the other apartment building will be just south of that and will have 48 units. A 9,000-square-foot retail building would be built at the southwest corner of the site, while another building with as much as 8,000 square feet of retail space and an outdoor fireplace would be built just north of that and south of the Walgreens store, which would remain.
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The development would be built on a former strip mall site. About 20 years ago the shopping center was torn down, and the Walgreens was put up directly southeast of the intersection. The remaining land has sat vacant ever since.
Ullrich noted development plans for the site originally started up with her father, Leander Jennings, and his father, David Jennings. These plans represent the next stage in the long-planned project coming to fruition. She said the project will be friendly to pedestrians and encourage residents to gather and enjoy public spaces.
"We're trying to enhance the community aspect of the site," she said.
NexJenn has also conducted a feasibility study, which shows the market could sustain a development of this size. The project has also drawn some preliminary interest from potential commercial tenants, said Ullrich.
The design concept is meant to match the aesthetic of the community, she added. It is also meant to draw in the gaze of passersby — especially those headed north along Main Street, as the two-story commercial buildings will be positioned in front with the three-story apartment buildings behind them. Pedestrians will also be able to walk through the development from the intersecting streets.
Ullrich said the development team met with village officials and presented preliminary plans in November. And on Monday, there will be a meeting to consider making changes to village zoning provisions that would allow the village to consider a project like this one.
Village president Van Mobley said he has reviewed the development plans, adding that he is excited to be working with the project team.
“When the process is complete, they will do a very good project that will work for them and for the village of Thiensville," he said. "We will all be happy about it for years to come.”
Ullrich said barring any unexpected delays, the last village meeting on the project would take place in April.