Officials approve TIF project plans for two sites
Vote paves the way for new 21-unit Eagles Landing condo project

By Dave Fidlin - Special to The Freeman

May 26, 2017

 Eagles Landing at Lac La Belle is a 21-unit condominium building that will be constructed overlooking the lake on Wisconsin Avenue.
Submitted rendering

OCONOMOWOC — With the hope of shepherding future development, city officials on Thursday approved a pair of project plans linked to two tax-incremental financing districts.

In a special meeting, the Common Council approved TIF district plans for land in and near the proposed Eagles Landing site, in addition to a smaller area of land in another area of the city.

Bob Duffy, the city’s economic development director, was in the hot seat throughout much of the meeting, fielding questions about the practicality of TIFs, which are mechanisms that allow municipalities to borrow money for infrastructure improvements.

The increased property tax revenue from TIF-bound land improvement is then diverted from the tax rolls to pay off the loan.

Much of the council’s attention focused on the proposal of Eagles Landing at Lac La Belle, a 21unit condominium building in the city’s TIF district No. 5. Ten Point Properties Inc. is overseeing the development.

Mark and Sue Neumann, who own Ten Point Properties, reached an understanding with American Legion Post 91 in August that the building that once held the Spinnakers restaurant would be sold to the Neumanns if the council signed off on the conceptual plans.

Duffy said Eagles Landing would bring added tax increment to the city in the long run as the development gets underway. He also said the work would spur additional improvements along the lake, including a nearby boat launch.

Eagles Landing, Duffy said, fits hand-in-glove with a 13-year-old downtown master plan that is on the city’s books. TIF, he said, “Is one of the tools we’re able to use.”

The council backed the TIF project plan surrounding Eagles Landing, though Alderman Michael Miller dissented. Several council members questioned the rational behind having to vote on a large-scale project at a special meeting on the cusp of a holiday weekend.

“I’m in favor of this, but I’m not in favor of the perception this gives,” Alderman Derek Zwart said. “We should really work hard to have important things like this at regular meetings.”

The council heard from several speakers on the Eagles Landing development in advance of the vote.

American Legion Post 91 Commander Bill Winkels said he and other members favored the condominium plans. The group recently held its last meeting in the old Spinnakers building and is at least temporarily meeting at the VFW Post 2260 building in Oconomowoc.

Eagles Landing, Winkels said, would continue to support positive economic development in the city’s downtown area.

“We have a lot to be proud of,” Winkels said. “Just seeing how we have our stores filled is a real blessing. It makes our city strong.”

But longtime resident Pat Herro was less enthusiastic about another large development in the heart of the city. Herro reflected on her early years in the community and used words such as “ambiance” and “beautiful” to describe that period of her life in Oconomowoc.

The second project plan approved Thursday is for TIF district No. 6. It is smaller in scope and reflects a 17-parcel site near Pleasant and St. Paul streets. Most of the property formerly housed a pair of gas stations and is being eyed for future development.

Duffy said the projected life of TIFs No. 5 and 6 are a dozen years apiece, meaning both should be paid off by 2029, based on projections from third-party consultants.

<<EARLIER: City approves redevelopment agreement for Eagle’s Landing at Lac La Belle

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