Renderings show the current
site (bottom) and a proposed upgrade (top) to the
former Kmart building at 120 W. Sunset Drive.
Wednesday night, the Plan Commission put plans for
the development on hold, asking developers to come
back with a bolder plan.
WAUKESHA - The Plan Commission agrees with most people
in the city that the vacant Kmart building on Sunset
Drive is an eyesore, but it doesn’t want just anything
to come in and replace it.
Wednesday night, the commissioners unanimously voted to
send the developer back to the drawing board for a more
interesting design plan than the one submitted for the
long-vacant 115,857-square-foot building, which
prospective developers are planning to revamp with a
10,000-square-foot addition and two additional out lots.
Community Development Specialist Jeff Fortin said
prospective developers are planning to split the
building into several units depending on what types of
tenants end up moving in.
Jon Thoresen of Commercial Property Associates Inc. said
if all goes as planned, the site will include a fitness
center and more than one restaurant.
Commissioner R.G. Keller said he wished the architect
would have made a “bolder, riskier” design statement
with the building, such as varying roof heights. He said
simply adding raised entrances for the various units is
a “missed opportunity.”
Commissioner Joan Francoeur agreed, saying the current
proposal gives the impression of a long, flat roof line.
However, architect Jeff Stowe said budget restrictions
make it hard to create any “grand gestures” like Keller
Commissioner Kevin Larson said this new retail center
could compete with The Shoppes at Fox River if it’s
handled appropriately - especially since city money is
month, the Common Council approved creating a tax
incremental financing district on the site.
District 22 will include an upfront incentive payment of
$2 million and a $600,000 pay-as-you go TIF that will be
paid back as the tax value is realized.
Finance Committee Chairman Joe Pieper said the site is
currently assessed at $3.7 million, but the developer’s
agreement includes a provision that the value will
increase to a minimum of $13 million.
also said he believed the parking lot was larger than
necessary, and asked for some of the 600-plus parking
stalls to be converted to green space.
Francoeur encouraged the prospective developers not to
think we’re all trying to do the same thing,” Francoeur
said. “This building and its redesign will go on after
the rest of us are not only not on this commission, but
also not even on this planet, and we want to make sure
it has a lasting impact and is of good quality.”
Francoeur made a motion to put the development on hold
until the first commission meeting in January, when the
prospective developers can come back with a different
set of plans.
On Wednesday evening, the Plan Commission:
Approved preliminary plans for the Fox Head Residences,
an apartment complex planned for 221 Maple Ave.
Unanimously voted to declare Fire Station No. 3 as
surplus land, as the first step in building a new fire
station in the southwest part of the city.
Did not approve final site plans for the Meadow Ridge
Apartments, citing concern over the location of some