Pabst Farms continues touting the pull of Fleet Farm
Other business expected to arrive within two years

By Jake Meister - Enterprise Staff

Sept. 14, 2017

A rendering of the Mills Fleet Farm that Oconomowoc has approved to be built in the
Pabst Farms Towne Center
.
Submitted rendering


OCONOMOWOC — When the Common Council voted in April to approve the construction of a 218,628-square-foot Mills Fleet Farm in the Pabst Farm Towne Center, Pabst Farms’ leaders, city officials and construction teams lauded the addition as a catalyst for other business developments.

Now, with ground being moved with increased haste at the future store’s site at the northeast corner of Interstate 94 and the intersection of Highway 67 and Summit Avenue, that optimism appears unscathed, if not strengthened.

Between Fleet Farm’s looming completion and the crowds of homes springing up in or around that area, the group is as optimistic as it’s been since before the Great Recession, Pabst Farms Development Executive Vice President William Niemann said on Friday.

“We’re very excited and this is an extremely positive move in the direction of more development,” he said.

Right now, Niemann said, Pabst Farms Development is working closely with its brokers, who themselves are talking to “additional users” — people or groups that are mulling bringing their businesses to the city. When asked for a prediction, Niemann said Pabst Farms is expecting to have commitments from other restaurants or stores within the next 12 to 18 months.

Mayor Dave Nold believes in the symbolism of Fleet Farm, saying its presence proves that Pabst Farms can in fact build something within its confines. He reasons that other retailers will see Fleet Farm and want to get in on the action.
 

Filling voids

There is no mistaking that Oconomowoc has some retail and dining voids to fill. Too often, Nold said, residents commute to Brookfield or Johnson Creek for shopping. By bringing some of these types of stores and restaurants to Oconomowoc — Nold didn’t have a particular business in mind — he reasons that Pabst Farms would be tapping into the desires of city residents.

Alderman Matt Rosek, who represents the Second District where the build is occurring, wasn’t in attendance when the council approved the developer’s agreement review plans last spring, though he said he would have given them his approval.

Rosek said last week that something to catalyze the growth of retail and restaurants in Pabst Farms has been needed, and Fleet Farm seems to fit that mold.

When out in the community, Rosek has, for the most part, heard support for the project from his constituents. He said the majority aren’t hung up on the fact that Pabst Farms’ original vision for bringing upscale shopping to the area has fallen through.

Should Pabst Farm grow because of the project, Rosek hopes the businesses coming in are linked up to the walking paths and bike trails that are already present.

Rosek said Pabst Farms Development had told city committees early this year that it intends to focus on interconnectivity.

Niemann said Friday that the company will remain true to that promise. He said Pabst Farms will continue to expand upon connectivity as the shopping area develops.

A public hearing was held last night on Pabst Farms Land Company II LLC’s application for a proposed amendment to the city’s land use plan, but the meeting occurred after deadline.

Email: jmeister@conleynet.com

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