Pewaukee is open for business
Village president actively recruiting for downtown, Capitol Drive areas

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Nov. 20, 2015

Pewaukee Village President Jeff Knutson hopes for new development at this Wisconsin Avenue site on the lakefront. 
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

PEWAUKEE - If you have a business and are looking for a vibrant location, Pewaukee Village President Jeff Knutson wants to hear from you.

During a Nov. 13 Pewaukee Chamber of Commerce event, Knutson called upon business owners to move their operations to downtown Pewaukee or along Capitol Drive in the village - areas with potential for growth as he sees it.

“No matter what business you have, bring it to the village,” Knutson said in a phone interview Thursday. “Let’s talk about it.”

In addition to observing untapped potential in those two key business areas, Knutson is also aware of the need to grow the tax base to keep taxes down.

He’s taking that message to the chamber events and will share it with the Pewaukee Kiwanis at their upcoming meeting.

When it comes to downtown Pewaukee near the lakefront, Knutson said there is undeveloped land that is ripe for construction. He gave the empty lot between the colorful, “main street” development by Siepmann and a new building by Siepmann on Wisconsin Avenue as one example.

There is also potential for redevelopment, he said. An idea Knutson likes is constructing a building with retail on the first floor and residential above because people like to be able to walk to events and businesses.

“I am open and excited about any business that would want to locate in the downtown area,” Knutson said. “I get so excited; there is so much potential down there.”

One recent redevelopment project that Knutson highlighted is Mangold Creative’s remodeling of the former Masonic Temple.

“It shows what people can do in developing property down there,” he said.

Knutson said he has heard proposals from business owners who are considering opening along Capitol Drive, but nothing has been finalized yet. The proposals have mostly been additional retail, he said.

The recruitment of businesses only recently began for Knutson so he has yet to have discussions with most of the Village Board members or the Pewaukee Chamber of Commerce and Positively Pewaukee about his ideas. He said he has been focused on some other business proposals, including for a small business to open behind Aldi off Capitol Drive.

Nancy Waters, executive director of the Pewaukee Chamber of Commerce, said Pewaukee is a great place to live and do business because the village is easily accessible by the freeway and it has a good mix of small, locally owned business near the lakefront and larger, chain stores along Capitol Drive.

She also cited Mangold Creative as a great example of revitalization efforts in Pewaukee.