Oconomowoc Alderman Charlie Shaw takes in the view from a
second-story unit in The Worthington luxury apartment
building in downtown Oconomowoc on Thursday.
Katherine Michalets/Special to The Freeman
Downtowns in Lake Country are going through a transformation
with the addition of multifamily housing. The five-story The
Worthington across from Oconomowoc’s new Community Center will
be move-in ready Nov. 15, while a proposal for 90 units in three
buildings along the Bark River in Hartland is being assessed by
the village government.
developments are being proposed elsewhere, too, such as the
Village Square Apartments off Highways 16 and 83 in Delafield,
which the Plan Commission was critical of Wednesday and for
which it does not recommend approval.
drawing developers to build multifamily units in Lake Country
and why do municipal governments approve them?
real estate wants
observation from municipal administrators and developers is that
both young and older people are in the market for apartments,
either as a person looking to downsize from a large home on the
lake to a young professional who doesn’t want the maintenance
associated with a house, instead wanting to focus on work and a
“There is a
growing segment of the population that doesn’t want to be tied
down,” Hartland Village Administrator David Cox said.
Mayor Michele DeYoe said she has heard from real estate agents
that the trend is moving toward housing with a smaller footprint
as people downsize or have two homes. She said she’s in that
boat as well, an empty-nester who has a condo in Florida and
doesn’t feel she needs her large house any more.
flexibility with apartments and they want less maintenance,” she
The kitchens inside The
Worthington units include stainless steel appliances, wood
cabinets and granite countertops. Many of the 60 units have
a view of downtown Oconomowoc or Lac La Belle.
Michalets/Special to The Freeman
A market study
that was presented to the Delafield Plan Commission on Wednesday
done by Baker Tilly indicated there was a total 1.9 percent
vacancy rate when analyzing 18 multifamily housing developments
with 1,746 units in Delafield, Pewaukee, Hartland, Oconomowoc
is a demand,” DeYoe said. “Sounds like if you build it, it will
study by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning
Commission, Cox said, found there was a housing disparity in
Lake Country with not enough affordable housing available.
housing is a way to address that, he said.
Final work was being done on the interior and exterior of
The Worthington on Thursday in downtown Oconomowoc. The
building is pictured from Worthington Street.
Katherine Michalets/Special to The Freeman
have told Cox it’s hard to construct a single-family home that
is considered affordable housing due to the costs of materials.
and other residential projects also have an increased focus on
offering bike paths, green spaces and paths to connect them to
recently approved Wells Street Station in downtown Delafield,
the discussion on the Plan Commission and Common Council was
about what kind of paths should be incorporated into the
similar discussions have occurred in Hartland regarding a
proposed three-building apartment and retail development off
East Capitol Drive called Riverwalk Apartments and the approved
single-family residential development called the Sanctuary of
Hartland off Main Street.
pathways in developments creates more foot traffic to local
Cox also said
people’s desires are changing and they want to be able to live
in a place from which they can walk to stores, restaurants and
creating an energy in the downtown and bringing people in to do
that,” he said.
the right fit
multifamily projects near downtown Delafield have already been
built - Delafield Woods and Delafield Lakes - both by Joe
McCormick, whose Village Square Apartments did not get approval
from the Plan Commission on Wednesday.
not return a call Friday. According to the website for Delafield
Lakes, “We are located in the heart of downtown Delafield, WI,
in a peaceful atmosphere that compliments your active lifestyle.
This quaint community is surrounded by beautiful lakeside
scenery and nature trails.”
Village Square Apartments, commissioners did not feel the
development was the right fit for the area. DeYoe said Friday
that in her opinion, the development would have made for a good
transition from retail to multifamily and then to single-family.
still determining if McCormick’s proposed Riverwalk Apartments
is the right addition for downtown. The proposal calls for a
three-story building with 32 units and 30 underground parking
stalls, another three-story building with 42 units and 37
underground parking stalls and a third two-story building that
would have retail on the first floor and 15 apartment units on
the second level.
also seeking city assistance through $1.6 million in funds as
part of tax incremental district No. 4 and the transfer of
village-owned property that was assessed at about $450,000 at
the time the village bought the land, but the buildings there
have since been torn down.
the village needs to take into consideration its comprehensive
plan, which calls for 60 percent single-family dwellings and 40
percent multifamily dwellings, including townhomes and duplexes.