BROOKFIELD - A revised plan for a high profile,
mixed-use development in the heart of Brookfield was met with praise
by city leaders and residents Tuesday.
Representatives with Milwaukee-based commercial real
estate development firm Irgens Development Partners gave updated
plans on their proposed reuse of the Ruby Farms site at Bluemound
and Calhoun roads during a Common Council meeting.
When Irgens’ name first surfaced as a developer of
the long dormant property a year ago, questions arose about the
future of the Ruby buildings, which date back to the mid-1800s and
include a farmhouse and barn.
Resident groups, including Concerned Calhoun
Community, advocated a number of steps be taken, including
preservation of the historic buildings and their integration into
the development, which has tentatively been dubbed “The Corridor.”
Through a series of phases, Irgens’ plans for the
property include a mixture of office, medical, wellness, retail and
hospitality-related buildings on the nearly 66-acre site. Upwards of
880,000 square feet of building space are planned when all
construction is complete.
Dan Ertl, director of community development, said the
site has been zoned with a planned development district designation
that allows for more flexibility in plotting logistics for the site.
Reaching out to
David Arnold, executive vice president of Irgens,
said the company has strived to work cooperatively with residents
living near the site. He asserted several suggestions - including
ultimate preservation of the Ruby buildings - were taken into
account as plans were revised.
“We’ve been working hard over the past few months as
we’ve been responsive to residents,” Arnold said. “We want to be
respectful of our neighbors.”
Some of the company’s overtures, Arnold said,
included stops at 341 single-family homes in the immediate vicinity
of the site. Of the door knocks, 191 residents provided feedback on
Frequent concerns included the height of the
buildings, the overall density of the project, traffic and noise -
and, of course, the future of the Ruby buildings.
In response, the city’s proposed, specially tailored
PDD zoning for the site includes trimming the maximum building
height ordinance from an original 150 feet to 85 feet.
Other concerns have included the amount of office and
retail space, particularly as vacancies continue to dot developments
along the Bluemound Road corridor.
Speaking of the surrounding area, Arnold said, “It
competes well with the rest of the region.” He suggested Brookfield
has a glut of so-called Class A office space - high-quality
properties that attract top-tiered corporate tenants.
More than a dozen residents weighed in on Irgens’
plans during a public hearing, and many praised the company for
hearing their concerns throughout the past year.
“Irgens has listened to the neighbors and made
changes,” said Mary Waring, president of Concerned Calhoun
Community. “I feel this is an excellent step in the right
The council did not take any action on Irgens’ plans
for the site. The Plan Commission will hash over details Nov. 10.
The council could take action, based on recommendations from
commissioners, Nov. 18.