A proposed new
branch of Associated Bank on North Port Washington Road
includes plans for a glass tower with an illuminated
Drawing courtesy of Rinka
MEQUON — Developers of an Associated Bank planned for
North Port Washington Road reached an impasse with the
Mequon Planning Commission Monday over requests for
Representatives from Bolder Venture, a Milwaukee-based
real estate development firm, are asking for several
variances from the city’s sign rules for the Associated
Bank branch they hope to begin building later this year.
For the second time this year, they walked away without
a green light.
The Planning Commission approved the building and site
plan for the planned 7,600-squarefoot bank at 11223 N.
Port Washington Road, which is on the west side of the
road between PNC Bank and the strip mall that includes
Starbucks. They took that action Jan. 14 but denied a
sign waiver request. The Common Council approved the
building and site plan Feb. 12.
Bolder Venture representatives returned to the Planning
Commission Monday with a request to revisit the tower
sign and to consider proposals for signs on the side of
the building that would exceed city height rules. They
also proposed a green band around the top of the tower.
In the end, they walked away with nothing. Commissioners
voted to table their request after hearing Jac Zader,
the city’s assistant director of Community Development,
say he would rather work through the process over the
coming month than negotiate a deal on the fly.
The disagreement appeared to pit Mequon’s sign rules
with the bank’s branding concept, which Robert Schmidt
III, a managing partner for Bolder Venture, said is
consistent across virtually all Associated Bank’s
“This would be the first time Associated Bank constructs
their prototype branch without the tower signage,”
according to a project narrative Bolder Venture
submitted to the city. “Those don’t fit Mequon,”
countered Alderman Rob Strzelczyk, who sits on the
Planning Commission. He added that the McDonald’s
restaurant across the street has signs that are more
subtle than many of its locations and customers have no
problem finding it.
“If you vote for this tonight, this is something that is
going to be allowable to every business,” Strzelczyk
Commissioners discussed a variety of different options
that included reducing the height of the tower,
permitting some type of more subdued artistic variation
of the logo in the tower and the use of a monument sign
along the street.
Ultimately, the Planning Commission took no action. It’s
expected city staff and Bolder Venture representatives
will meet in the coming weeks and work out a plan likely
to gain Planning Commission approval.
In another matter, commissioners tabled a request from
ICAP Development to rezone the 8.9-acre parcel that was
the former home to the Jewish Home and Care Center,
10865 and 10911 N. Port Washington Road. The property,
which has been vacant for more than a decade, now has
institutional zoning. Developers would like it changed
to B-2, a community commercial designation.
While precise plans have not been proposed, the concept
plan shows a commercial development with the potential
for five separate tenant spaces.
It was expected prior to the meeting that some specifics
of the project would be discussed by commissioners, but
the rezoning request would be tabled until additional
work could be completed.
The discussion Monday centered on several specimen trees
on the property. Jerad Proteskey, vice president of
development for ICAP Development, said at least some of
the trees will present “significant financial
implications” and make it more difficult to manage
stormwater and install utilities on the property.
City staff did not immediately appear willing to permit
the trees to come down.
“I don’t see any hardship involved in developing this
property,” Mayor Dan Abendroth said. “I think the trees
should stay – and according to the ordinance, they must
Developers are expected to return to the Planning
Commission after they work with city staff to redesign
the project so it avoids the trees.