Developer proposes apartments at former brewery site 

BY RALPH CHAPOCO - Special to The Freeman

Nov. 12, 2017

Up to 99 apartments have been proposed for the former brewery at the corner of
Franklin and North Main streets in West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News

WEST BEND — Developers interested in renovating the former brewery adjacent to Highway 33 presented details of their plans to mixed reviews from West Bend officials.

Plan Commission members provided their input during Tuesday’s meeting regarding the concept plan by Robert Bach of P2 Development Co., based in Saukville, to transform the site at the corner of North Main Street and Franklin Street into a multifamily housing complex.

“I think it would a great nucleus for trying to get something going a little bit north of (Highway) 33,” Bach said. “Between 33 and Regner Park, it is an area that hasn’t had a lot of redevelopment going on, and we thought this would be a good nucleus to get this going. Also, having more people reside in that area, which would help all of the local businesses in the downtown.”

According to the accompanying memo from Business and Development Planner James Reinke, the proposal is to transform the site into a multifamily residential development. The proposed building is three stories that will include an in-building parking basement level.

It will have 99 units with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that will be rented at market rates. The facility will also have common areas such as a community room, fitness amenities and storage units.

The building will be located along Main Street close to the right of way. Individual street-level entrances are under consideration for residents fronting the road, but corridors would be provided for internal access to their apartments.

The building would have direct access to the Riverwalk. Vehicles would enter the site using Franklin Street. The developer is also pursuing a second vehicle access point to North Main Street through private lands north of the building.

Bach and his colleagues have requested that city officials consider vacating all or part of the Franklin Street roadway to accommodate the development.

“We don’t have anything picked out as far as what would go there,” Bach said. “It is a prominent location, but it is not a place you would have a Walgreens.”

The parcel south of the structure would be part of the developer’s control and could share access by the replacement private driveway.

“I would not be in favor of it as a concept,” Commissioner Jed Dolnick said. “It may be comparable to Auxiliary Court and Regency, but those buildings are not fronting on a major thoroughfare like Main Street.

“The question is, ‘Is this what we want facing Main Street?’” Dolnick added as he displayed the rendering to his colleagues. “Number one, the design is extremely disappointing. It is cookie-cutter. It is broken up by porches and windows, but we can do better than that.”

He also said he did not favor the use of the building, but would later temper his thoughts after hearing from Bach. Dolnick wanted a more detailed rendering of the structure before he could be completely comfortable with the proposal.

Commissioner Sara Fleischman agreed and said she had problems with using the building for residential purposes.

“I don’t really have a problem with it,” Commissioner Bernie Newman said.

“I would like to see an entrance on the north side if that would be possible.”

Developers will return with additional details at a later date.