Staff members of 360 Direct
stand outside the company’s headquarters on 126th
Street in Brookfield. From left are Nicole Agen, Ken
Hamiel, Vicki Kroeger, Brandon Spenneberg, Clive
Dawson, President John Bernhoft, and Barb Giliberto.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
BROOKFIELD - An industrial area of Brookfield is getting
a much-needed facelift thanks to the city’s investment
in infrastructure, as well as building renovations from
businesses moving into the newly-branded 124th Commerce
is defined as the area between Burleigh Road and Feerick Street,
one block south of Capitol Drive, west of 124th Street to the
128th Street right-of-way. Two years ago, Brookfield city staff
and officials began meeting with property and business owners in
the area to plan for scheduled street improvements. From those
discussions, a consensus was reached that a storm sewer system
was desirable to replace open drainage ditches, as well as
concrete streets with curb and gutter would be preferred as
streets were rebuilt, said Tim Casey, economic development
administrator for Brookfield.
branding process, the name 124th Commerce District was selected
because it reflects the mix of commercial uses lying within the
area: 58 industrial buildings with 1.4 million square feet of
space; 13 office buildings with 200,000 square feet of space;
and seven retail or restaurant buildings, Casey said.
Wisconsin Firearms Training is
completely rehabilitating the interior and exterior
of the former B&G golf building at 12730 W. Burleigh
Road into a five-star shooting range and training
center. It is expected to open this fall.
Several businesses are rehabbing buildings in the
district or have already moved into completed projects.
Lightfoot, founder and one of the owners of Wisconsin Firearms
Training, said he and his partners, Larry Reid and Dennis
Barthenheier, purchased the former B&G golf building at 12730 W.
Burleigh Road and are completely rehabilitating the building as
a five-star shooting range and training center.
The price of
the building and its close proximity to the interstate were two
reasons, Lightfoot said, why they purchased it. He also likes
the recent developments near Mayfair Mall and the expanding
retail base in the area.
model and the type of business we are planning to open needs to
be in a high traffic retail area for it to be successful,”
completed, Wisconsin Firearms Training will have an indoor
shooting range with 15 lanes and will offer training for
everyone from beginners to advanced shooters. While the range
and the retail space inside will be open to the public,
Lightfoot said several municipalities will also do training at
he is anticipating the work on the building, which includes
major indoor and outdoor renovation, to be completed this fall.
businesses in the 124th Commerce District include Stark
Asphalt/Northwest Asphalt, which purchased the building at 12845
W. Burleigh Road and is remodeling the interior for offices.
Stark will be moving approximately 20 office employees there in
early fall, Casey said.
LJ Design and
Manufacturing, better known as Laacke and Joys, purchased the
VerHalen building at 3205 N. 124th St. and is rehabilitating it
to house manufacturing. In addition, Signs by Tomorrow acquired
the building at 3415 N. 127th St. and will be moving its
operations from West Allis.
president of 360 Direct, said his business-to-business marketing
firm previously leased space for six years in Wauwatosa and had
been searching for a new location for the past one-and-a-half
he heard about the redevelopment in the 124th Commerce District
and found the right building for 360 Direct’s needs.
“It was in
need of some significant attention and they are stepping up to
the plate,” Bernhoft said.
The new home
of 360 Direct at 3245 N. 126th St. was taken down to its core
and completely remodeled, Bernhoft said. The first part of the
building dated to the 1950s and the second part from the 1970s.
Direct’s employees moved to the new location this spring, they
are still waiting for the road work to be completed by the city.
anxious to see the finished street, but we will be patient,”
Bernhoft said. “The fact that they were redeveloping this park
made it a no-brainer for us.”
along with the infrastructure improvements, the city’s offer of
low-interest loans in cooperation with Waukesha County has
appealed to some businesses looking to relocate.
“I think the
area is clearly seen an improvement now and I think that is
going to improve because of the location and the new streets,”
seeing an increase in retail businesses, some industrial
businesses have been displaced, so the 124th Commerce District
is a convenient move for them.
road work includes ground restoration, top soil and seeding,
plus the placement of permanent 124th Commerce District signage.
To further enhance aesthetics, colored concrete is being used in
crosswalk areas on the Robin, Townsend, Wirth and Feerick
intersections with 124th Street.
“I think it
just lends to the overall appearance of the neighborhood and it
will attract people wanting to come to the area,” Lightfoot said
of the infrastructure improvements.
Ponto said he feels the district has been successful.
to do some things to encourage private investments and to help
improve the overall appearance of it,” he said. “It has been our
experience that this is an area that essentially from an
economic standpoint is doing fine.”