Developer drops plans for Thiensville apartments
Resident discontent behind the decision
By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff
THIENSVILLE — Plans to build a
44-unit apartment project on the site of the old M&I Bank in
downtown Thiensville have been scrapped.
Developer David Hoff told Village President Van Mobley in a
letter last week that he and his firm “decided to discontinue
our redevelopment plans” for the long-vacant property at Green
Bay Road and Riverview Drive.
“This is personally and professionally disappointing to me and
my wife Patricia, who would have been my partner in this
project,” Hoff wrote. “Our goal is to find locations where our
efforts are welcomed by the municipality and its constituents.”
A standing-room-only crowd of residents, many neighbors along
Riverview Drive, opposed the project during a public hearing
July 21. They argued that the $6.5 million project was too big
for the 1.55acre bank site, which has been vacant since 2007.
Many who spoke at Village Hall said they admired the
condominiums Hoff developed on the old shoe factory site along
Elm Street west of Village Hall about a decade ago. Some said a
similar development on the bank site would be viable and
As that public hearing and meeting of the
village’s Plan Commission wound to a close, Mobley encouraged
the Fox Point developer to at least consider whether a
condominium development with about 20 units would be feasible.
Hoff said he would do some calculations and get back to the
Village Board. About a week later, he withdrew his proposal.
“Our vision was to replace the existing
vacant commercial building with a new high-end multifamily
housing project, which we believe would be a significant benefit
to the village and surrounding property owners,” Hoff wrote.
“The influx of affluent renters and the introduction of an
attractive new row-house-style project would have enhanced your
vibrant community by increasing patronage to the downtown retail
and service providers, which in turn should lead to additional
higher-quality developments – both commercial and residential.
“We felt our proposal supported this
vision,” he wrote, adding later, “Unfortunately, some of the
constituents of the village did not share in this vision and
spoke out against our project.”
Rents for the apartments would have ranged
from $1,100 a month for a one-bedroom to about $2,000 a month
for a three-bedroom townhome.
Mobley called Hoff “a wonderful developer”
and said he hopes the village maintains a relationship with him.
“I’m disappointed that he’s disappointed,
but I’m optimistic about Mr. Hoff and the village of Thiensville
going forward,” Mobley said. “I’ve encouraged him to maintain
his interest in the village.”
Hoff suggested in his letter that the
village consider the public’s comments related to establishing a
redevelopment plan for the Green Bay Road corridor “to help
guide the next round of proposals for this and other nearby
Mobley said such a discussion will begin at
the Village Board’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday,
which started after the News Graphic’s deadline.
“We’ll try to hammer out a vision that
everybody can like and embrace,” he said. “We’re going to have
further discussion on the way toward having a shared vision.”
It is possible that whatever is developed on
that site could receive some assistance from a tax incremental
financing district. Hoff was looking at a package that would
have paid him back about $1.2 million over 16 years from
additional property taxes generated by the project.
Mobley said it’s important for the village
to be realistic about what is possible for the M&I site.
“We’ll keep talking and get something that
works,” he said. “There’s no rush; the village doesn’t face any
Gary Achterberg can be reached at