Grafton Commons North review reveals minor changes
Unnamed retailer driving the project, including 55,000-square-foot space

By Laurie Arendt - News Graphic Staff

Jan. 25, 2018

GRAFTON — The Grafton Plan Commission heard few new updates on the proposed concept for Grafton Commons North at Tuesday’s meeting. A proposal by Continental Properties to develop the 16.99-acre property into a 69,000-square-foot building with three tenants and a small outlot with a multi-tenant building changed little from when it was originally proposed earlier in 2017.

“We are talking to ‘retail A,’” said Joe Berkhahn of Continental Properties. “They are the driver of this project. But we are in a catch-22 on this.”

That catch-22 is that this large of a retailer typically wants the proper zoning and agreement in place before being announced; the village is hesitant to grant this without knowing who the tenant for the 55,000-square foot space might be.

“The concern I have is that we will be looking at a planned unit development without really knowing the type of use it will have,” said Village President Jim Brunnquell. “It’s kind of hard to comment on a concept plan without knowing that.”

“That is the size of a ‘big box’ retailer, correct?” asked Commissioner Carl Harms. “If we’re looking at that, it would be subject to the requirements we have in place for those type of retailers.”

Staff noted that this was correct, but Berkhahn remained mum on the potential tenants for the property.

The Plan Commission took no action on the conceptual plan as the discussion was purely for informational purposes. The staff’s review had identified a short list of concerns about the proposed plans, including fire department access and a need to provide pedestrian and bike access to the development, which will be located north of the existing retail developments on Port Washington Road.

Continental Properties did make some changes to the initial plan submitted in 2017, including revisions to a planned access driveway from the existing Costco parking lot.

The developer was also before the Plan Commission to seek approval for a partial site plan, which would allow it to begin construction on this driveway, having secured a cross easement agreement with Costco for access.

The developer already has received approval from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the access road’s stream crossing, filling of wetlands and the creation of the stormwater pond. This initial work would also require some temporary grading on site that would be improved upon once the full site work is approved and completed.

The Plan Commission approved the partial site plan with conditions identified by staff.