Wal-Mart Could Leave Kenosha Holding the Bag

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

It appears that Bentonville-Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s plans for the Kenosha area are similar to its plans for the Sheboygan area. And in the end, both cities could be left with vacant old Wal-Mart stores. Wal-Mart, of course, is the world’s biggest retailer with more than 5,700 stores, including 2,000 Supercenter stores, which are combination discount and grocery stores. Increasingly, Wal-Mart is replacing its older discount stores with new Supercenter stores.
In Sheboygan, Wal-Mart plans to build two Supercenter stores to replace its current Wal-Mart discount store at 609 S. Taylor Drive in the Taylor Heights Shopping Center. The Sheboygan Common Council has approved plans for a 212,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter at Taylor Drive and Germaine Avenue on the city’s south side.
Wal-Mart plans to build the other 212,000-square-foot Supercenter store in the Town of Sheboygan, just north of the city, at Highway 42 and Interstate 43. The Town Board approved that project, on the condition that Wal-Mart would not build an access road to County Highway J. But the state Department of Transportation is requiring an access to the store from Highway J. Wal-Mart will have to return to the Town Board and request a change in its conditional use permit to allow the Highway J access. The Town Board may deny that request, but if it does, Wal-Mart might then request that the property be annexed into the city. If that happens, the town would lose the property tax revenue from the development to the city.
If Wal-Mart builds the two Sheboygan stores and closes its current store there, as planned, it will be a serious blow for Taylor Heights. The shopping center already lost a Piggly Wiggly store, which closed earlier this year. When the Wal-Mart store at Taylor Heights closes, it might not be easy to find another retailer to fill the space.
Wal-Mart’s plans in Kenosha are strikingly similar to its Sheboygan plans.
The company plans to build a 200,000-square-foot Supercenter store on a vacant site at the southwest corner of 80th Street and 30th Avenue on Kenosha’s south side. The site is about 2.5 miles south of Wal-Mart’s current Kenosha discount store at 4404 52nd St.
Wal-Mart engineers told Kenosha officials that the 52nd Street store will remain open after the Supercenter opens on the south side, said City of Kenosha planner Brian Wilke.
However, the engineers also said that Wal-Mart wants to build another Supercenter store at Highways 31 and 142, which is located northwest of Kenosha in the Town of Somers, just outside the city limits.
Town of Somers administrator William Morris could not be reached for comment.
If plans for the Town of Somers Wal-Mart Supercenter store are approved, the 52nd Street store will be closed after the two new stores open, city officials were told, Wilke said.
Both Sheboygan and Kenosha could be saddled with vacant Wal-Mart stores, a problem some communities have faced as the company replaces those stores with new Supercenter stores.
"It’s definitely a concern," Wilke said.
Kenosha officials might try to require Wal-Mart to find an occupant for the 52nd Street store, if it is closed, in exchange for approval of the new south side Supercenter, Wilke said. However, the discussions between Kenosha and Wal-Mart have only just begun, he said.
John Bisio, Wal-Mart regional manager of community affairs, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
More Kenosha news
Richard and Loretta Caron plan to convert an 8,200-square-foot historic mansion at 6107 7th Ave. into an eight-room bed and breakfast inn. The three-story, Italianate home was built in 1860 by Edward Bain, who was a major manufacturer of wooden wagons, Richard Caron said. The home is located in Kenosha’s Liberty Park Historic Preservation District. The Carons bought the home for $550,000 about a year and a half ago after searching in eight states for the right house to buy for a bed and breakfast inn. "We like historical architecture," Caron said. "We’ve always wanted to do this." The couple, then living in Algonquin, Ill., spotted the Bain house on foreclosure.com. The house had been for sale for three years and in foreclosure for about two. The home had not been well maintained and in the 1920s a hospital that used it for a student nurses dormitory altered the exterior dramatically by removing a four-story observation tower. The home’s front façade was also totally changed. "It’s an amazing house," Caron said. "We didn’t see the condition it was in, we saw the condition it would be in." The Carons plan to spend $750,000 to restore the interior of the home as much as possible to its original appearance, and to add new paint, landscaping and fencing to the exterior. Eventually, if they can afford it, they plan to spend another $220,000 to restore the exterior to its original appearance. "We’re going for the highest type of bed and breakfast inns," Richard said. "The most elegant and the most romantic."
Lansing, Mich.-based Beaner’s Gourmet Coffee recently opened its first Wisconsin location at 7180 75th St., adjacent to a Menards store. The gourmet coffee house features more than 30 specialty coffee, tea and frozen drinks. Beaner’s opened their first store in 1995 and began franchising in 1999. Global Orange Development, Beaner’s franchising company, has opened 40 Beaner’s Gourmet Coffee stores since. There are franchises in five states, including 30 in Michigan, nine in Ohio, and stores in Indiana, Alabama and South Carolina. The company plans to continue its rapid expansion in the Midwest and South next year.
Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm Insurance will occupy 35,000 square feet in an office building at 245 S. Executive Dr. owned by Liberty Property Trust, a Malvern, Pa.-based real estate investment trust (REIT). Inland Companies brokered the deal for State Farm. State Farm is consolidating its office space from several smaller locations in the Milwaukee area, said John DiVall, vice president of Liberty Property Trust’s Milwaukee office. State Farm will occupy the building’s entire 25,000-square-foot second floor and 10,000 square feet on the first floor. Liberty Property Trust is expanding the building from 60,000 square feet to 72,000 square feet and renovating much of the existing space adding numerous "green" features, including waterless urinals, to reduce energy costs. "Our redesign and the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) component has been well received," DiVall said. About 20,000 square feet of space in the building is still available and Liberty Property Trust is negotiating with potential tenants. "We think we will have it all leased up by the end of the year," DiVall said.
The Right One, a Norwell, Mass.-based dating service, recently opened its first Milwaukee-area office at 200 S. Executive Dr. Suite 101, Brookfield. The Right One has more than 60 offices nationwide, including two Wisconsin offices in Appleton and Madison. "We are the largest bricks and mortar dating service in the country and our personalized, one-to-one approach that clients receive at our office makes a significant difference in helping them find the right one," said Paul Falzone, chief executive officer of The Right One and Together Dating, which have been in business for 30 years and plan on opening 12 to 24 new offices a year.
Joe Denis plans to open a Steak and Shake restaurant at 3140 N. 124th St. The restaurant would be in a new, 4,300-square-foot building on an outlot for a planned Lowe’s store. It will be the first location in the Milwaukee area for Steak and Shake, an Indianapolis-based chain known for its steak burgers, french fries and milkshakes. Steak and Shake has 430 locations in 20 states, including 64 in Illinois where the chain started. But there is only one Wisconsin location, in Janesville.
West Bend
Dallas-based CDC Real Estate Corp. plans to build a 46,000-square-foot Sportsman’s Warehouse outdoor gear store east of Silverbrook Drive and north of Paradise Drive, just west of a Home Depot store. Cedar City, Utah-based Sportsman’s has 30 stores in 16 states in the West and Midwest. Sportsman’s only other Wisconsin locations are in New Berlin and De Pere.
Chicago Title Insurance Company recently opened an office in 2,000 square feet of space on Paradise Drive. The West Bend office has seven full-time employees and is expected to grow. "We have seen a significant increase in the number of clients we serve with interests in Washington and Ozaukee county communities," said Chicago Title Insurance vice president and area manager Dick Smith. "Our new West Bend location will allow us to better serve our existing clientele, while providing additional service options for these growing communities."
Panera Bread plans to build a restaurant in an outlot at 1710 S. Main St. in front of a Shopko store. Richmond Heights, Mo.-based Panera Bread has more than 770 locations in the nation, including 12 in southeastern Wisconsin.
Cedarburg-based Jackson Concrete Inc. plans to build a concrete plant and storage building at Hron Road and Rail Place.
West Bend-based JKA Enterprise plans to build a 24,000-square-foot multi-tenant industrial building at 110 E. Decorah Road.
Michael Sanfelippo, the owner of American United Taxi Cab and All City Veteran Taxi, plans to expand his Walker’s Point Plaza, located south of Bruce Street between First and Second streets on the city’s near south side. The expansion will include a 2,000-square-foot gyros restaurant, a Quick Lube oil change center and an E85 gas facility expansion of the existing Mobile gas station, which Sanfelippo also owns. The convenience store at Walker’s Point Plaza will move to a larger 5,000-square-foot space, opening up a 3,000-square-foot space, which Sanfelippo hopes to fill with a breakfast restaurant. The project is expected to be complete by May 1. The gas station will become one of the few in the area where motorists can purchase the E85 blend of gas and ethanol fuel. Sanfelippo said the E85 fuel will sell for 20 to 25 cents less than conventional unleaded gas. Critics of ethanol blended gasoline say it provides lower gas mileage and causes damage to vehicles. Sanfelippo acknowledges that E85 provides less gas mileage. "If you’re getting 20 miles to the gallon now you will get 18 miles to the gallon with E85," he said. However, Sanfelippo disputes claims that the fuel damages vehicles. He said he used the fuel all summer in one of his Crown Victoria taxi cabs. "The car ran fine on it," he said. "It didn’t damage it at all." The station may also sell lower ethanol blends providing less cost savings, but better gas mileage, Sanfelippo said.
Waukesha-based KeyBridge Development Group has made an accepted offer to purchase the 55-acre former Fleming Cos. distribution center property located on Sunset Drive east of St. Paul Avenue, said KeyBridge president Scott Fergus. The 500,000-square-foot distribution facility, which was used for Sentry grocery stores, will be torn down and KeyBridge plans to build 270 to 300 homes in four- and five-plex townhomes, duplexes and single family homes. The homes will cost between $200,000 and $400,000, Fergus said.
West Allis
A Jimmy John’s restaurant will open in February at Highway 100 and National Avenue, said Milwaukee Jimmy John’s marketing manager Adam Lovinus. The restaurant will be operated by Matt and Melissa Freeman. It will be the sixth Jimmy Johns franchise operated by the Freemans.
Cathy McCombs, Liz Gabriel, Amanda Cosgrove Paffrath and Doug Chaussee recently opened Hot Shop Glass and Studio, an art glass blowing studio and gallery, at 239 Wisconsin Ave. in a renovated 1880s stable in downtown Racine. Hot Shop Glass will offer instruction for individuals, groups and corporate team building workshops. Hot Shop will also offer studio rentals and gallery space to showcase the work of emerging regional glass artists.

Andrew Weiland is the managing editor for Small Business Times. Send news about commercial real estate to Andrew.weiland@biztimes.com or by calling him at (414) 277-8181 ext. 120. News can also be sent to Andrew Weiland, Small Business Times, 1123 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

Small Business Times, December 16, 2005, Milwaukee, WI

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