This property, which once was home to two antique malls,
may become the site of mixed-use development.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA - Prime vacant land next to the Fox
River in downtown Waukesha is being considered for a
multi-phase, mixed-use development that could also include
Pieces of land bordered by Barstow Street and St.
Paul Avenue and cut through by Bank Street are owned by the Huelsman
family, owners of Berg Management; local attorney Charles Davies;
and Waukesha State Bank President Ty Taylor.
Catherine Huelsman, general manager of Berg
Management, said her family, which includes Bill and Alan Huelsman,
owns the vacant Hardee’s building, while Taylor owns some land along
St. Paul and Davies owns the largest portion. Huelsman said it makes
sense for all the properties to be combined together for any future
Previously, the site also included two antique stores
that had previously been grocery stores. They were demolished in
late 2013 due to their poor condition.
Huelsman said Alan and Bill have spoken with Mayor
Shawn Reilly and City Planner Jennifer Andrews about the future of
Reilly said it’s been suggested that three or four
buildings could be constructed on the land next to the river with
the first building containing office space.
“They are thinking it through carefully,” Reilly said
of the Huelsmans.
Grass grows on the site of a former antique mall, which may
become the site of mixed-use development.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
The buildings would be tied into the river
and the downtown in their design, Reilly said. Also, he said
with multiple buildings the project would be done in phases.
That site, once referred to as the “Gold Coast” of
Waukesha by former City Planner Steve Crandell, is a big asset to
the city right now, Reilly said. It’s also near a large parking
Reilly said he wants whatever happens along the river
to be well thought out.
In 2011, the Huelsmans funded a $15,000 feasibility
study that determined the site could easily sustain a mid-sized
convention center, but the family couldn’t front the $20 million
construction costs alone. The family approached the city asking for
tax incremental financing funding up front. The city wasn’t
interested and the project stopped before it ever really got
In 2008, Catherine Huelsman said, they also proposed
building a multi-use development with retail and apartments, but
that also did not advance.
She said right now only ideas are being floated
around about the land along the Fox River downtown, but the multiple
buildings would likely be commercial, adding that Reilly wants to
see a plan for the whole site from the start.
“It will definitely be something nice,” Catherine
Huelsman said. “We have interest in it but it is also expensive to