WAUKESHA — A planned
apartment-anchored mixed-use development on vacant downtown land
along the Fox River received unanimous approval Tuesday as the
Common Council had an opportunity to weigh in and vote on the
All 15 aldermen cast votes in favor of a so-called term sheet linked
to developer Campbell Capital Group’s plans for The Reserve at
Waukesha, a mixed-use development consisting of 186 apartments and
2,100 square feet of commercial space on 4.21 acres of vacant land
at the southeast portion of East St. Paul Avenue and the southwest
portion of NW Barstow Street.
The council’s vote comes on the heels of favorable reviews last week
from several city panels, including the Finance Committee and Plan
Jennifer Andrews, community development director, said her office
has championed Campbell’s plans for the site for a number of
reasons, including an increase in residential density downtown and
added revenue to the city’s tax rolls.
“It’s taking advantage of a really underutilized site in the central
city,” Andrews said.
The term sheet touches on several issues related to the proposed
development, including the creation of a new rehabilitation-related
tax-incremental financing, or TIF, district to help guide the
The plan in motion also calls for a $1.5 million grant to Campbell
at the time of construction commencing and a $3.25 million grant as
tax increment is generated from the project.
Based on projections, Andrews said the rehabilitation TIF district
created is expected to have a 12-year lifespan, kicking in once
ground is broken in 2021.
During deliberations, Council President Kathleen Cummings pointed
out the length of a TIF district could last as long as 27 years,
based on state law — a point Andrews confirmed.
“We could theoretically have this TIF open for 27 years,” Cummings
said. “I’m not saying this is a bad project, but I do want to make
sure we’re on the same page.”
In response, Andrews said, “We’ve closed many TIFs before their
statutory life in this city.”
Alderman Daniel Manion, who in the past has spoken out against the
use of TIF districts, said he was going to cast a favorable vote in
this instance, pointing out his long desire to see the land reach
its full potential.
“I’m not a fan of TIFs,” Manion said. “But I am a fan of this.”
Andrews said the council’s vote reflects a nonbinding agreement at
“What it says is the city and developer are working toward the same
agreement,” Andrews said of the term sheet.