Waukesha State Bank accepts offer on 131-acre parcel in Port Washington

Land trust to preserve property for public recreation

A lakefront view of the 240-acre property looking north. Courtesy of Waukesha State Bank.

The Ozaukee Washington County Land Trust will purchase 131-acres of land in the city of Port Washington from Waukesha State Bank, the land trust recently announced.

The property is part of a 240-acre tract currently owned by the bank that is located along Highway C and is approximately one mile south of downtown Port Washington. It includes 1.25 miles of continuous lakefront, sections of which are being considered for a mixed-use development.

The OWLT has the property under contract and is currently partnered with Ozaukee County to raise about $2 million to purchase the property. The OWLT has raised $1 million with plans to raise more through grants and stewardship programs.

The OWLT plans to turn the property into the Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs Nature Preserve, which will offer access to the beach and other recreational activities including hiking, wildlife observation and snow shoeing. Regional visitors are expected to exceed 100,000 annually.

“The generosity of our community, working with OWLT to make places like Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve, Mequon Nature Preserve, and Forest Beach Migratory Preserve a reality gives us great optimism that we will again be successful in reaching our goal,” said Tom Stolp, OWLT executive director.

Waukesha State Bank is searching for a developer to develop 80 acres of land along the lakefront while 30 acres west of Highway C is under contract for a private residence, said Keith Van De Laarschot, commercial business development director for Waukesha State Bank.

Another project, which included lakefront housing and a proposed vineyard, was previously contemplated for the land, but never came to fruition. The property was owned by Brookfield-based V K Development Corp. until Waukesha State Bank acquired the property via foreclosure in 2011.

Photos and drone footage of the property can be found here. 

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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, banking and finance. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.