Back to drawing boards for Hendricks
Downtown Delafield development stalls

By Kelly Smith - Special to The Freeman

Dec. 1, 2017

A rendering of the original five-story, 100,000 square-foot retail and residential building proposed for the corner of Genesee and Main streets in Delafield.
Submitted rendering

DELAFIELD — It is back to the drawing boards for Hendricks Commercial Properties and their proposed new, large, multiuse building in downtown Delafield.

Most of the eight members of the Plan Commission at Wednesday’s meeting appeared to like the idea of a new downtown building with condominiums, offices and retail spaces, perhaps even a public marketplace.

However, they did not like the architectural style and design of the five-floor, 100,000 square-foot structure proposed by architect Kent Johnson.

The plans call for office and retail space on the first and possibly second floors with 42 condominium units on the remaining floors.

There would be 84 underground parking spaces for the residents.

Rob Gerbitz, president and CEO of Hendricks Commercial Property, described the architectural style as resembling an early 1900s factory that had been converted into first floor retail shops and upstairs living space.

Gerbitz and Johnson suggested the architecture would respect the historic traditions and culture of downtown Delafield while contrasting with the colonial style buildings that dominate the area.

Gerbitz and Johnson, both of whom formerly worked for developer Bob Lang, are familiar with the design of many of those buildings.
 

Concerns about size

But a majority of commissioners did not believe the proposed building would fit in downtown Delafield.

“The building belongs in the Third Ward in Milwaukee,” said Commissioner David Greenway.

“I don’t like the building, it is huge,” added Commissioner David Jashinsky.

“I like the idea of a public market place like they have in Milwaukee, but I just don’t think you have enough room for that,” said Commissioner Jeff Krickhahn.

“Is there a Plan B?” asked Commissioner Jim Reiher.

The developers explained the building at the corner of Genesee and Main streets is designed to appear as though there are two separate buildings, one facing Main Street and the other facing Genesee Street.

One portion of the building will be five stories, while the other portion will be four stories.

Commissioners asked if the height of the building could be lower and the number of floors reduced to four on one section and three on the other section.

There were also concerns that plan provides only 19 parking spaces to accommodate 24,000 square-feet of retail and office space on the first floor.

While some commissioners questioned whether that is adequate parking, City Engineer Mike Court of Short Elliot Hendrickson pointed out that property owners in the Central Business District One zoning district are not required to provide any parking.

Gerbitz said his architects will go back to the drawing boards in effort to come up with a new plan.

He said he would like to find a building that is “somewhere in the middle” between the colonial style of the existing downtown structures and the early 1900s urban style that was proposed to the commission.

Gerbitz later told The Freeman that it would probably be some time after January of next year before he presented a new proposal.

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