Panel endorses proposed Sendik’s renovations at The Corners
Sendik’s, IM Properties planning $5 million investment into improvements

By Dave Fidlin - Special to The Freeman

Jan. 10, 2019

TOWN OF BROOKFIELD — The mixed-use Corners development is less than two years old, but structural changes are afoot as 2019 gets underway.

In mid-December, Sendik’s and Corners developer IM Properties jointly announced a series of improvements, valued at $5 million, that largely would encompass changes to the specialty grocer’s operations plan.

On the heels of the announcement, representatives of IM Properties attended a Town of Brookfield Plan Commission meeting Tuesday and delved deeper into the plans proposed.

After a half-hour discussion with the representatives, commissioners agreed to forward the proposal to the decision-making Town Board, which will take the planned changes up at its next meeting Jan. 15.

Sendik’s, which began operations within The Corners in spring 2017, is proposing changes to its space there, including an expansion.


Details

Plans call for the grocery store increasing from 35,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet. The expanded space, which will encompass two stories under the proposal, will result in several tweaks to other areas on the northernmost end of the development.

Alongside the physical expansion is an anticipated rollout of new products and services, including a floral department, home goods area and a bar area offering beer, wine and gourmet coffee.

One of the company’s marquee changes in the tweaked operations plan is a grill station, which will give customers the option of ordering fresh meats and fish and having them cooked to order within the store’s confines.

Robert Gould, vice president of IM Properties, said he and others within the company worked closely with Sendik’s executives to devise the strategy around the grill station. He compared it to a food hall concept, which has been growing in popularity.

“We worked with Sendik’s on this very closely over several months,” Gould said. “This is about bringing new ideas to this market. This is all a part of experiential retail.”

While Sendik’s has taken center stage in the planned modifications, Gould said the plans underway also give his firm the opportunity to correct a few existing structural features, particularly those closest to Bluemound Road.

Gould conceded the lack of pedestrian entrances along Lord Street, the entryway into the development off Bluemound Road, was “a design mistake.”


Commissioners comments

Although a few concerns were raised, commissioners overall were pleased with Sendik’s plans and IM Properties’ commitment to make more pedestrian-friendly enhancements.

“I think it’s a fantastic concept,” Commissioner Len Smeltzer said.

But on a cautionary note, Commissioner Mike Schmitt said he was concerned about the viability of Sendik’s plans, comparing them to other unsuccessful attempts from other grocery chains across the U.S.

“I’d just make a special note that 2-story grocery stores are very hard to do,” Schmitt said.


Rezoning proposal

Also Tuesday, commissioners discussed a rezoning proposal that could lead to a new sports-themed business at 19650 Sommer Drive.

Gary Lake, development services director, said he received a query for a possible indoor basketball training facility.

The applicant of the proposed business was unable to attend Tuesday’s commission meeting, and the issue has been deferred to the next agenda in February.

For plans to proceed, Lake said town officials would have to issue an amendment. The Sommer Drive parcel is zoned for mixed use, but current language in town code does not speak to indoor basketball facilities.

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