NEW BERLIN
Developer uncertain about Prospect Hill plans after pushback
VentureSpace LLC may decide to sell land to another developer

By Hannah Weikel - Freeman Staff

March 2, 2018

 The former Prospect Hill School in New Berlin.
Freeman file photo

NEW BERLIN — After a developer’s preliminary plan to build a commercial space and storage facility on the Prospect Hill Elementary School property was opposed at a public hearing last month, city officials are waiting to hear if the plan will move forward.

Owner of VentureSpace, LLC Mike Frede said he hasn’t decided whether the company will proceed with steps toward developing the land, or sell it.

“We have communicated with the city and we are not quite sure how we want to proceed,” Frede said. “We need to make a financial decision and we just haven’t made that yet.”

Frede proposed a plan to raze the school and build self-storage and a business condominium in its place, but residents living near the land strongly opposed his concept both times he brought it forward in the last year.

“I think the biggest thing was that they were concerned this could create a business park,” said Mayor Dave Ament after the most recent hearing. “They didn’t like the density, there were too many units, and they were uncomfortable that the questions and answers were vague at this point about where the entrance would be.”

Since the public hearing, Ament has told Frede that he must address the residents’ concerns and come back with a plan that’s more “palatable,” with changes to the number of units and specific information about property setbacks and screening on the parcel, sandwiched between Racine Avenue and National Avenue.

“If we think it’s good enough, we will hold another public information meeting,” Ament said. “We don’t want to have them spend money on design only for it to be shot down.”

Despite still not knowing how the company will proceed, Frede said they are not under any amount of pressure with pending deadlines.

“We definitely don’t want to sit on it real long,” he said, adding that he may still sell the property if meeting demands from the city and residents is too difficult.