VJS gets go-ahead for hotel proposal at Research Park

Developer still needs approvals on brand, design for multi-use project

The site of the proposed development is on the left side of the picture, with the M-10 building on the upper right side of the site.

Despite objection from a competing hotel chain, VJS Development Group will be allowed to move forward with plans to construct a 130-room hotel at Research Park in Wauwatosa.

The site of the proposed VJS development is on the left side of the picture with the M-10 building in the upper right side of the site.
The site of the proposed VJS development is on the left side of the picture with the M-10 building in the upper right side of the site.

The Milwaukee County Research Park Corporation board voted unanimously Tuesday to continue its negotiations with the Pewaukee-based developer.

In December, Crowne Plaza Milwaukee West asked the board to reconsider the company’s proposal, saying the hotel market was over-saturated and a new hotel would cause “casualties” in the market.

The board originally voted to table the issue until February while the executive committee could gather more information; however, Guy Mascari, executive director of Milwaukee County Research Park, met with outside consultants and Research Park tenants and advised the board to move forward with the VJS project.

“There appears to be no objection by many of the occupants of Research Park for a hotel,” Mascari said. “What they do not want are more apartments or an office building on that land.”

VJS is proposing a multi-use project that would include a brew pub in the existing 102-year-old, 8,190-square foot building, commonly known as the M-10 building, and a national brand hotel and up to 11,000 square feet of retail in a newly-constructed building.

Three new hotels are being built or planned within a three-mile radius of the Crowne Plaza: a 128-room Residence Inn at UWM Innovation Campus; a 144-room Homewood Suites at Mayfair Collection and a 103- room Hampton Inn & Suites at State Fair Park.

Hotel data shows that despite additional hotel rooms, the occupancy rates have remained strong, particularly in Milwaukee.

Mascari said after talking to consultants, he realized the Wauwatosa market more closely resembles the downtown Milwaukee market than Brookfield and Waukesha.

“Anecdotally, it appears there are a lot of strong demand generators for a hotel in this market,” he said. “After talking to people, a picture started to emerge that VJS should be allowed to do further due diligence.”

VJS will be back before the board in 60 to 90 days for brand and design approval.

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