Another ‘national retailer’ likely headed to Grafton Commons
Concept calls for 55,000-square-foot storefront

By Melanie Boyung - New Graphic Staff

July 25, 2017

 Grafton Commons stores such as Costco and Pier 1 can be seen in the distance, just south of where a new development is being proposed in Grafton.
Photo by Mark Justesen

GRAFTON — A space larger than Grafton’s Best Buy and Michaels combined is being planned for a multitenant development in the freeway corridor.

A concept plan was submitted to the village of Grafton for a three-tenant retail development just north of Costco, on Port Washington Road. While the concept plan was originally scheduled for Plan Commission review today, Village Planner Jessica Wolff said the developer asked Monday to be taken off the agenda, so further work can be done on plan details before coming to the commission.

The plans already submitted to the village show a 69,000-square-foot building on the 16.99-acre parcel behind Costco. Two smaller spaces are planned, with 5,000- and 9,000-square foot layouts; the rest of the complex would accommodate one 55,000-square-foot retail space.

That space is smaller than the Grafton Kohl’s, which is about 75,000 square feet, but much larger than some other national retail spaces. Wolff said the records show that Best Buy and Michaels together are roughly 44,000 square feet.

“To me, that (size) would indicate a national retailer,” Wolff said.

The developer, Continental, has not named specific tenants thus far, though in a staff report, Wolff said that they would need to name a tenant for the large space and at least one of the other two before Continental could obtain rezoning and site plan approval.

Continental is the same developer that built the new McDonald’s on Highway 60 in Grafton, as well as the Grafton Commons, which began with Costco about 10 years ago and expanded to include the multitenant buildings in that area, including those that house Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohl’s, Aldi and others.

The new building north of Costco would be Grafton Commons North, according to the village report. The concept plans also show an outlot building of 3,100 square feet.

The 16.99-acre parcel includes wetland areas, and some differences in land elevation, that constrain where buildings could be constructed.

“There are considerable environmental challenges,” Wolff said.

Information submitted to the village states Continental has already obtained permits from the Department of Natural Resources for wetland fill and constructing a stream crossing for access. The plan indicates Continental intended to begin work this fall and have the development completed by summer next year; with the delay in introducing the concept plan, however, the timeline may change. Having pulled the scheduled application, Continental will have to reapply to be reviewed at a later time.

The staff report listed several items that would need to be addressed moving forward, including:

The initial proposal did not meet requirements for the number of parking spaces

Pedestrian and bicycle facilities would need to be provided

A traffic study would be needed to determine necessary improvements to Port Washington Road to allow for the development

Further details would be needed for the outlot building, and what types of business might end up in that building Wolff said that once the development comes back to the village, its rezoning – the property is currently zoned agriculture – would be done as a planned unit development. That zoning maintains the greatest degree of control for the village in how the property will be used in the future.

Continental Properties, a Menomonee Falls-based company, could not be reached for comment.