storefront at 630 E. Wisconsin Ave. has been empty since
2009 when Sentry left the facility. The owners of the
building are said to be interested in leasing or selling
Jake Meister/Freeman Staff
OCONOMOWOC - The
grass surrounding the storefront at 630 E. Wisconsin
Ave. still grows, but business remains dead since Sentry
left the facility empty in 2009.
property featuring a 40,000-square-foot structure on
nearly five acres of land near water has drawn interest,
it is hard to tell when it will be purchased or leased
out by its California-based ownership, said Oconomowoc
Realty owner Mike Herro, who has fielded inquiries on
the property since getting the listing a year and a half
When Herro first
took on the listing, the property was getting looks from
a number of groups and some were interested in a deal.
However, the owners were limited by their desire to only
lease the property - a stance they had taken for some
time - and prices couldn't be agreed upon, said Herro.
Over the last six
weeks or so, the ownership has been open to listening to
offers for the outright sale of the property, though
leasing is still their desire, Herro said.
really need to look at all their options I guess, and I
think they're really doing that now," Herro said.
A wide variety of
groups have expressed interest in the property since
Oconomowoc Realty took the listing. Herro said some
high-end grocery stores, churches and potential gyms
have taken a peek. A few groups have examined converting
the structure into a residential property. Even some
manufacturing companies have examined the property.
City eager to have location
Dave Nold said the best solution for the property, at
least from the city's perspective, would be for it to be
consumer-based. Though he thinks something involving
entertainment might work, a retail-oriented operation
would be the best fit, he said. Nold said people have
told him they wish there was still a grocery store
downtown and a high-end one would be a fit.
"I think that
would perform great in the city," Nold said. "It's
always been wanted."
Economic Development Director Bob Duffy said the city is
near full occupancy downtown regarding businesses
operating from the storefronts and it would love to have
the former Sentry site filled.
utilization of that building would be advantageous to
the city," Duffy said.
The property is
zoned mixed-use commercial, said City Planner and Zoning
Administrator Jason Gallo. That type of district allows
for a number of land uses, which provides flexibility
because different types of businesses - like retail and
residential - can operate at the site at the same time.
flexibility allowed under the zoning district, I would
endorse uses that conform to the current zoning," Gallo
said. "The site has a great location, being on Wisconsin
Avenue, with secondary road frontage on Thompson Street,
and having water frontage on Fowler Lake along the back
side. I can picture this sizable site being redeveloped
with commercial/office on the ground floor and some
residential units on the upper floors.Ê In addition,
there is potential for a new lot to be created along
Wisconsin Avenue for a commercial use."
have come to the city expressing interest in the site
over the years, but various reasons have kept the
projects from going through, Gallo said.