OCONOMOWOC - After idling for quite some time, the Pabst
Farms development finally received some momentum on
Wednesday evening, when the Oconomowoc Plan Commission
unanimously approved its revised general development
revised plan will, among other changes, increase the
size of the anchor stores from 89,000 and 128,000 square
feet to 150,000 and 195,000 square feet, respectively.
This has concerned some residents, who don’t want big
box stores, particularly Walmart, moving into the
Residents Florence Wahlen and Derek Zwart spoke out
against the proposed changes.
hope that someday soon, we will come to the realization
that we don’t need to build a shopping center at every
street corner,” said Wahlen, who does not want to see
Walmart brought into the city.
Zwart said this move would make it more difficult to
keep big box stores out and the city would be giving up
some of its leverage on those decisions in the future.
He said he has been asking for residents’ opinions about
Walmart moving in and has found them generally not in
favor of it.
city recently entered into an agreement with Pabst
Farms, which states that Pabst Farms will not enter into
a contract with Walmart for one year. The agreement also
grants the city three years to make tenant-based
decisions on any proposed retailers in the development,
essentially granting Oconomowoc a three-year window to
find alternative tenants that residents would support.
changes to the general development plan include removing
the monument wall along the southwest corner of the
property, which will be replaced with a water feature
and landscaping; decreasing the overall size of the
project from 1.33 million square feet to 1.1 million;
changing from combined underground and above ground
stormwater management to above ground only; removal of
the lifestyle center; reduced connectivity between
stores; and reducing the restaurant plaza from four
restaurants to two.
Planner Jason Gallo expressed his approval of the
revised plan, noting there are some minor tweaks that he
would recommend, such as increased connectivity between
stores and increased landscaping, which can be discussed
feel that the retail world has drastically changed since
2008,” said Gallo, when these initial plans were brought
forward. They were revised in 2010.
James Daley explained that, while the city and residents
may have certain retailers they would like to see in the
space, all they can do is make the atmosphere conducive
to attracting those tenants. This plan, he said, would
Ultimately, “the free market makes the decisions,” said
also noted that these decisions have financial
ramifications. If the city denies certain retailers, it
could end up costing taxpayers more money on lost
property tax revenue. The city can say it doesn’t want
something, said Daley, but there’s a cost associated