BIG BEND — Village President
James Soneberg revealed plans Thursday for a multi-million-dollar
development in Big Bend with the hope that Village Board members and
the incoming president will carry on the project.
The development would be located at the Interstate 43 and Highway
164 interchange, which Big Bend has identified as a prime location
for development since the early 1990s.
A rough concept for the project suggests the development would have
an anchor big box store, parcels for restaurants, retail or hotels
with a neighboring business park. Soneberg said the whole
development would span approximately 200 acres and could generate as
much as $100 million to the tax base.
Soneberg added that Milwaukee- based Commercial real estate company Zilber
Property Group would partner with Big Bend to get the development up
and running over a 10- to 20-year period, with some retail portions
of the property opening in the next five years, he said.
“Granted this is mostly preliminary,” Soneberg said. “It gives
customers and the community a feel for what would be coming into the
Soneberg, who’s stepping down as president on Tuesday after being
defeated in his April 2 re-election bid by Warren Lajsic, admitted
the project will require a lot of time and attention, but said Big
Bend can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity.
“I’ve spent several days (working) on it over the past few months
because I felt it was so much of a benefit for Big Bend,” Soneberg
said. “I don’t want to see it falter because it has so much
Soneberg said he’s discussed the project in closed session with the
Village Board on two different occasions, but the project has not
yet been brought to the public.
Big Bend has attracted little development to the area when compared
to neighboring municipalities that also abut interstates. Soneberg
blames the economic downturn in 2008 but said the lack of sewer and
water has also been a major deterrent for prospective developers.
“You see the area communities around the region doing projects and
development,” Soneberg said. “Talking with businesses throughout the
last few years, we’ve been passed up because of the sewer and water
For this reason, sewer and water would be a component of the
project. Big Bend currently has three quarters of a mile of sewer
pipe under Highway 164/ Big Bend Drive just west of Big Bend Village
Park. Soneberg said an additional mile of piping would be needed to
connect the development with a sewer and water plant that would be
located at Big Bend Village Park.
Soneberg estimates sewer, water and a treatment plant would cost up
to $11 million, but the infrastructure costs of both development and
sewer and water would be paid off by a tax incremental financing
district over a 16-year period, he added.
Tax incremental financing allows municipalities to funnel tax money
into improvements within a geographic district. After a TIF district
is created, a portion of the property tax generated on new
developments within the district, called “increment,” goes into a
pot that can be used to pay for improvements, like environmental
clean ups, road construction and demolition projects.
The end result of the project would be added retail for Big Bend
residents while generating the tax revenue necessary for capital
investments, infrastructure projects while lowering the overall tax
rate, Soneberg said.