MEQUON — A recently approved
amendment to Mequon’s Town Center tax incremental finance district
has received required approval from the state of Wisconsin.
The approval by the state’s Department of Revenue, formalized in a
Sept. 11 letter to Mequon City Clerk Caroline Fochs, clears the way
for the city to provide a pay-as-you-go incentive to developers of
the Foxtown development on a blighted 17-acre parcel on the south
side of Mequon Road.
The Mequon Common Council approved amending the TIF district in
August on a 5-3 vote. Aldermen returned in September to authorize
the $4.9 million incentive for the development that is the third
major Town Center project on a 5-3 vote.
The cornerstone of the project is renovation of the historic brewery
at the corner of Mequon Road and Buntrock Avenue that already is
underway. The project ultimately will include the Argentos
restaurant, a beer hall, 23 single-family homes, 96 apartment units,
offices and retail space.
Much of the incentive is aimed at demolition and other necessary
steps to get the property ready for development.
The incentive does not commit city funds. It essentially provides a
refund on part of the property taxes to the developers over the next
nine years as they meet requirements laid out in the agreement.
If all benchmarks are met, the developers are in line to receive
paybacks to cover approximately $1.5 million for site demolition,
$925,400 in base improvements and a 5-percent “incentive bonus” of
about $2.5 million.
The amendments in the TIF district also open the door for the city
to make additional improvements to public amenities in the
neighborhood along Industrial Drive that would include streetscaping.
If the development is fully completed, annual property taxes
collected on the property are expected to increase from the current
$16,500 to more than $800,000 a year.
The initial phase of the Town Center – now about three years old –
is anchored by Café Hollander at the intersection of Mequon and
Cedarburg roads. That development includes three additional
buildings of retail, office space and apartments. The second phase,
now being built, is the Spur 16 development on the public works site
north of Mequon Road. It will include the Mequon Public Market,
apartments, a restaurant and other retail.