Laser tag, outdoor car shows coming to former American site

By DAVE FIDLIN - Special to The Freeman 

April 21, 2017

CITY OF PEWAUKEE — A former home furnishings and electronics retail building continues its metamorphosis into an entertainment venue, following a Pewaukee panel’s pair of approvals Thursday.

The city’s Plan Commission green lit two proposals for portions of the former American building at W229N1400 Westwood Drive. A laser tag franchise is occupying a portion of the facility, and a relocated outdoor car show will take up sections of the parking lot this summer.

The Hard Knocks Laser Tag franchise joins fellow permanent tenants Point Burger Bar and Veloce Indoor Speedway go-kart track at the former American site. Ninety percent of the building is now occupied.

Representatives of Hard Knocks said the venue is designed to appeal to a range of clientele, from teenagers to adults. While much of its appeal is expected to be recreational, the applicants said the business also would appeal to persons interested in such activities as corporate team-building events.

Hard Knocks’ operations plan also includes a small bar area. Commissioners expressed concern about its accessibility to underage patrons, but the franchise representatives asserted it would be set apart from the main laser tag area.

Beyond the bar concern, commissioners were overwhelmingly supportive of Hard Knocks, which is expected to open later this year.

“It’s an interesting reuse of the space,” commissioner Craig Coursin said.

The panel also backed an enthusiast group’s plans to have an outdoor display of old cars in Point Burger Bar’s parking area throughout the upcoming summer months.

The group, known as Wednesday Night Classics, has bounced around to different venues since the events

began in 2001. After outgrowing Pistol Pete’s lot in Brookfield, the enthusiasts showcased their classics, rods, customs and muscle cars in the Weissgerber’s Gasthaus parking lot.

“These are not car shows,” organizer Tom Hekkers said, pointing out no awards are handed out throughout the season. “We’re just a bunch of guys who are car enthusiasts.”

Since the Gasthaus site closed last year, members of the enthusiasts group have been exploring alternate sites. As the group’s name suggests, the displays have taken place on Wednesday evenings.

Commissioners in their review briefly wrangled over some of the finite details, including a cut-off time for the car displays since they will be held outdoors.

City Administrator Scott Klein said applicants are typically given specifically tailored conditional-use permits, outlining when music and other related festivities must cease.

Noting Point Burger Bar’s location near the Interstate 94 corridor, Klein said, “I don’t see it being a concern here.”

Also on Thursday, commissioners reviewed several requests related to animals.

The panel granted applicant Kevin Blackmore a commercial kennel license for a dog daycare business within an industrial building at W238-N1700 Rockwood Drive.

Additionally, resident Nancy Guerrero was granted a so-called hobby kennel license at her home along Nottingham Drive.

Guerrero has five dogs on her property, which is two more than the city’s threedog threshold. The license gives Guerrero the ability to have the two additional dogs.

Commissioners also were slated to review Wolfgang and Alexandra Gaggl’s request to keep miniature goats on their Oak Court property, but it was withdrawn from the agenda and not reviewed.