Prairieville Limited Partners drafted updated
plans for a proposed apartment complex that
would incorporate the Waukesha County Museum
property at 101 W. Main St.
WAUKESHA — A plan to replace one
building at the Waukesha County Museum with a
41-unit luxury apartment complex received
conditional approval Wednesday evening from the
city’s Landmarks Commission.
Continuing a discussion that
began in June, the commission voted 5-1 to
approve a certificate of appropriateness for the
apartment portion of the project, enabling the
plan to move forward to the Plan Commission for
The project still needs to be
revisited by the Landmarks Commission before any
final approval can be given.
Dennis Cerreta, the museum’s
director of operations and a member of the
commission, recused himself for discussion on
“We very much enjoyed this
opportunity to be working on this project ... we
especially enjoyed the dialogue we had at the
last meeting,” Gene Guszkowski of AG
Architecture said during Wednesday’s meeting.
Guszkowski, who presented the
project to the commission, said the developer
has been in a “chicken and egg” situation
between needing to provide more detail to city
staff, while also requiring approval from the
commission to begin some construction to
finalize those details.
The site consists of three
primary buildings which are all connected: the
old courthouse built in 1893 on the east side of
the site, the jail built in 1885 on the west end
and the connector between the two.
Historic Prairieville Limited
Partners plans to purchase the museum’s property
at 101 W. Main St., raze the 1938 addition on
the site and build the apartment complex in its
place. The demolition was conditionally approved
at the commission’s June meeting, pending
approval of the apartment plan.
Community Development Specialist
Jeff Fortin said city staff has met with the
project developers four or five times since the
June meeting, with revisions going back and
forth from both sides.
The Freeman previously reported
some of the changes to the renderings included a
flat roof line on the newer building to avoid
distracting from the peaked roof line of the
The renderings also show the new
apartment building would be made from a light
brick. In addition, the dividing tower between
the museum building and the apartment building
has been squared off, as opposed to its
previously rounded exterior.
‘It is saving
two very important buildings’
The development will feature two
floors of underground parking for residents and
museum employees. Included in the project are
studio, one- and two-bedroom units, a board room
and a banquet room with an adjoining kitchen.
As part of the deal, the museum
would be able to lease a smaller space where it
would consolidate its operations for 25-year
periods at $1 per year.
“I do feel this is a very
important project for the city of Waukesha,”
Mayor Shawn Reilly said during public comment at
the meeting. “It is saving two very important
buildings ... I will ask you to try and work out
something so there is approval so they can move
Fortin said even after the
revisions, city staff still had concerns, such
as how the new building meets and interacts with
the historic structures at various connection
points. Some commissioners also raised concerns
about windows on the building and the necessity
of the top floor of the apartment complex. Those
questions must be answered before any final
approval is granted.
While commissioners seemed
generally in favor of the new revisions, Andrea
Nemecek said she did not want to approve the
project just for the sake of moving it forward
on what she called “arguably the most prominent
structure in the city of Waukesha.”
Commission member David Smart,
who offered the lone vote against the project,
said he believed the connector building does not
necessarily have to be razed, but could instead
be reused or repurposed in some fashion.
He echoed Nemecek’s claim that
the commission should not jump into any final
“I certainly support staff
continuing to look at issues and getting
satisfactory answers to those as a process,” he
said. “You picked the most prominent historical
building in the community so I think having more
than one or two meetings on this is certainly
detailed plans for Waukesha County Museum