Waukesha County development


Direction of growth is northwest

Even as the last of the county’s prime greenfields disappear, Waukesha County will continue to see growth, according to The Polacheck Company’s Max Rasansky.
"The fastest growing county is Waukesha County," Rasansky said. "Growth has always gone west and northwest. So far, the biggest problem remains zoning."
It’s not surprising that Rasansky and others in the commercial real estate field identified the I-94 corridor as the hotspot, but Rasansky and Polacheck’s Peter Glaser stressed that activity keeps moving further west.
"Just when you thought development had gone as far as it could go, it goes further west," Glaser said. "Now we are seeing that it is expanding to Highway 67 — and then to Highway 83."
The two said activity in Johnson Creek, in Jefferson County, indicated that, eventually, the Milwaukee and Madison metro areas will meet in the middle. Johnson Creek has seen the development of a Menards, a Kohl’s and an outlet mall along I-94.
Polacheck is involved in numerous projects in the county, including a commercial development in New Berlin at Moorland and Janesville roads. The development will include a Kohl’s, a Jewel and a small amount of leasable space.

Mukwonago annexes to the south
While the city of Oconomowoc’s Pabst Farms development has been making headlines, the village of Mukwonago may turn out to be the real commercial development story in Waukesha County.
village administrator Bernard Kahl reports the potential for additional commercial and industrial land opening in the course of 2002. The amount of land to be opened for business use equals the amount of commercial and industrial-zoned land in the Pabst Farms development.
While Mukwonago’s existing business park — which was opened more than 18 years ago — is full, land on the south end of town across I-43 has been annexed into the village from the town of Vernon. Kahl said about 500 acres will be divided into a small commercial strip, a business park and some industrial parcels. One private entity has already purchased land from a farmer in the annexed area, and the village board could move on including the land in a tax incremental financing district as early as this spring.
"We have known for years that we were going to be a hot spot," Kahl said. "We have had some nice residential development come into the village. We are trying to take our commercial and industrial development and spread it out over a few years."

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Waukesha sees 80-acre development
In the city of Waukesha, utilities and streets are being constructed for the Waukesha Corporate Center — on what could be the last plot of undeveloped appropriately-zoned land in the city.
The 80-acre business park will be located just off of Highway 59 on the south side of the city, and will be brokered by MLG Commercial, which purchased the land last year.
The city has zoned the parcel for office and light industrial use. The park will be a planned-unit development, which gives the city control over architectural and landscaping details. But according to Community Development director Steven Crandell, the city’s requirements are not overly stringent.
"We will require all masonry construction," Crandell said. "Parking areas and sites will have to be landscaped. We do allow outdoor storage amounting to 10% of the building’s size, but it has to be screened. We have three [similarly zoned] industrial parks; two are completely sold out and one has six remaining acres. The restrictions are not a hindrance to the sale of the property."

Brookfield nearly out of greenfields
While greenfield development continues in the city of Brookfield, availability of open land is getting tight. As early as 1998, the last time the city published its open land report, there were only 365 acres of buildable land left in the city. As a result, city planners are beginning to set their sights on redevelopment of old-growth commercial spaces.
"In October of 2001, the city approved the creation of a community redevelopment authority, which has not yet met," Economic Development coordinator Pat Drinan said. "The committee will identify priorities and most likely get involved in the redevelopment of the Brookfield Square shopping center and the creation of a main street mixed-use office area northwest of the existing mall. We have seen this in other communities — Glendale, Greendale — dealing with malls and shopping centers. A lot of those same concepts will be reflected here."
Development of open land along Capitol Drive will take place in well-defined nodes to prevent the sprawl and congestion seen along Bluemound Drive. Primary nodes include Capitol’s intersections with Brookfield Road and Lilly Road.
The most active of those nodes is the intersection of Capitol Drive and Brookfield Road — the site not only of VK Development’s Vincent Park Business Center, but of the Towne Center — 40-acre multi-use development anchored by a Sendik’s food store.
"The store is built in a non-traditional suburban style," director of Community Development Dan Ertl said. "It is more of an urban style with two-story buildings, main street atmosphere and design, on-street parking, underground parking and a mixture of uses within the same building."
Other businesses already located in the project include Brookfield Travel, a Cousin’s sub shop and Equitable Bank.
The plans for greenfield development along Capitol Drive and redevelopment merge at the intersection of 124th Street and Capitol.
"We envision activity to occur along 124th Street and Capitol Drive where we hope there is a reinvestment in older, tired properties," Dan Ertl said. "In the Towne Center, we are integrating mixed uses on the same site and maybe within the same building — and we are hoping to include that in the 124th and Capitol development."
Another city section targeted for redevelopment is known as the Village Area, which is located along Brookfield Road at the Canadian Pacific railroad crossing. "The original origins of our community were in that area," Ertl said. "There hasn’t been any reinvestment in that area." The city is planning to add curb, gutter and storm sewer to the area.
The intersection of Calhoun Road and Capitol Drive is also identified as in need of redevelopment, according to Drinan. The retail development on the site — Capitol Plaza — had been a Kohl’s Store, but the current tenant is a retailer of baby apparel and accessories.

Brookfield business parks successful
Ertl said careful business-park development has paid big dividends for the city. And he stressed that even in the absence of subsidies like tax incremental financing, land values are doing very well.
A case in point, according to Ertl, is Gateway West Commerce Center on the northwest side of the city at Springdale Road and Capitol Drive. The 115-acre park still has 79 acres available for development.
"Gateway West was developed without TIF or other subsidies," Ertl said. "It currently has approximately 20 buildings, equaling 60 businesses. It is capturing probably the most advantageous land sales in the city. I believe the most recent land sales are in the neighborhood of $100,000 an acre, which is pretty significant for land of that type."
Mega-developer Vincent Kuttemperoor has made his mark on Brookfield with his Vincent Park Center. In the course of 2001, VK Development completed the last two buildings in its Vincent Park Business Center at Capitol Drive and Brookfield Road.
The five Class A office buildings total approximately 135,000 square feet. Each building consists of approximately 26,000 square feet of leasable space.
According to Kuttemperoor, the last two buildings are not filling as quickly as those completed in previous years.
"We do have some vacancies in these two buildings," Kuttemperoor said. "Even office space has slowed down; but remember that one of these buildings is only three months old. In Brookfield, when the economy turns around, I am optimistic that the space will be filled. This is right on Capitol — and Capitol is the next Bluemound Road."
Kuttemperoor is interested in seeing a microbrewery pop up on property adjacent to Vincent Park. "I have one site set aside for a mircrobrewery," Kuttemperoor said. "I am looking for one. There is not yet a microbrewery in Brookfield."
For his next Brookfield project, Kuttemperoor said he is eyeing 10 acres on the corner of Capitol and Buford drives.

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Pewaukee reaching maximum density
One, or possibly two office buildings could come to I-94 and Highway 164 in the city of Pewaukee once an anchor tenant is located.
William H. Bonifas of The Polacheck Co. called the 14 acres between 164 and J "one of the most highly visible sites in Waukesha County. It could be one or two buildings."
About 45,000 of 136,000 square feet in an initial building would have to be leased prior to construction.
The city of Pewaukee is almost completely built out with four square miles of industrial and commercial development, according to city administrator Harlan Clinkenbeard.
Like the village of Waterford to the south, Pewaukee has garnered interest of hotel developers. In 2001, the city sprouted two new hotels — a 300-guest room Marriott at Highway 164 and I-94 and a 100-bed Radisson at Highway J and I-94.
Even given a depressed travel market, Clinkenbeard did not seem surprised to see hotels being built.
"Obviously these people want to be in the suburbs but still be close enough to be driven by what is going on with conventions happening in the city," Clinkenbeard said. "We also have enough business, with 8,000 mostly white-collar employees in the area. And the hotels might be looking at serving that market as well."
The Boldt Group and Mega Construction President Norm Yerke, are teaming up on Parkridge II — an office development which is currently under construction. Boldt will occupy the second floor of the 22,000-square-foot building on Ridgeview Parkway in Waukesha. The remaining 11,000 square feet will be available for lease. Yerke also has 5,000 square feet for lease in the recently completed Parkridge Center I at N21 W23350 Ridgeview Pky.

Falls sees development in three parks
Meanwhile, in Menomonee Falls, the Woodland Prime business park at Good Hope Road and Highway 41 could see an additional 80,000-square-foot building break ground as early as this year. Two existing buildings owned by Weas Development of Milwaukee have been constructed since 2001. As the second building reaches 100% occupancy, Doug Weas will move on plans — which he has been sitting on for several months — for a third structure. Currently, the second building has a 20% vacancy rate, which means 40,000 square feet of Class A office space lying fallow.
"We would like to get another building off the ground in 2002," Weas said. "Unless a very large user came around, this building could be a little smaller — maybe 80,000 to 79,000 square feet."
Elsewhere in Menomonee Falls, sales in Burke Properties’ Westbrook Industrial Park’s initial phase are progressing. The development, at Highway 41/45 and 124th Street, came online in the summer of 2000. According to Burke President Paul Votto, 50 of the 71 acres are still available. A second phase at 55 acres is in the engineering phase, and parcels could be sold as early as this year, according to Votto. The addition of a new exit from 41/45 should speed development of that land, according to Votto.
The village is also rezoning land just west of the Silver Spring Corporate Park — near Good Hope and Pilgrim roads — for a technology development. The village recommended rezoning 20 acres next to the established 170-acre development from agricultural to commercial and light industrial. Roughly 30 acres of land remain in the existing park.

Oconomowoc braces for Pabst Farms activity
In the city of Oconomowoc, the 1,000-acre Pabst Farms development is beginning to bulge like a bud preparing to burst. The planned development, located at I-94 and State Highway 67, will include 200 acres of mixed use office/commercial space, 300 acres of business/industrial space, 50 acres of civic/institutional area, and 235 acres of open space in addition to acreage set aside for residential and public works purposes.
In the meantime, activity remained brisk in 2001 in the Oconomowoc Corporate Center. Corporate Center activity included:

  • Robert W. Baird’s 15,600-square-foot office building on 1.48 acres at 1245 Corporate Center Drive;
  • Construction of the 22,804-square-foot Oconomowoc Medical Center on 5.1 acres at 1185 Corporate Center Drive;
  • Purity Professional Dialysis Center — Construction of a the Purity Professional Dialysis Center — a 12,084-square-foot facility on Corporate Center Drive;
  • Westwood Office Suites — a 13,200-square-foot professional/medical office building located on two acres at 970 W. Silver Lake Street.
    Elsewhere in Oconomowoc, a Target Distribution Center at 1100 Valley Rd. constructed a 381,000-square-foot addition to its facility.

    Expansions in Hartland
    According to village of Hartland administrator Wallace Thiel, activity in the village’s two active TIF districts has been brisk despite recent economic fluctuations.
    In the Bark River Commerce Center, two current tenants added on to their facilities, including Camtronics, Inc. — a developer of analytic medical technology — and Aurora Clinic.
    JTS Direct — a commercial printer — constructed and recently moved into a 34,000-square-foot building on 4.5 acres in Bark River, according to Mike Fardy of Inland Companies.
    In Cottonwood Commerce Center, about 5 acres remain, while in Geason Commerce Center, 12 to 15 acres remain undeveloped. The two parks are represented by Interstate Development and Venture Development, respectively.

    February 1, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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