rendering of what a proposed North Shore Bank could look
like along Germantown’s Mequon Road and included in
village Plan Commission filings this week.
GERMANTOWN — The village’s busy
main thoroughfare could be in line for a new bank someday. But
first, it’ll have to pass design muster.
Developers behind the proposal to plant a North Shore Bank in the
parking lot of the
Sendik’s Village Centre along Germantown’s Mequon
Road got a conditional green light to move forward from Plan
Commission members this week.
But the conditions could mean — among other things — reworking the
architecture of a decidedly un-German-looking building that could
set up shop in the village’s so-called “Germanic Theme” corridor.
Commissioners agreed to recommend Village Board members give their
own conditional approval to a new planned development district and
certified survey map — zoning-related steps that would be needed to
help set construction efforts for the bank project in motion.
But detailed site and design plans still need approval, and planning
leaders cautioned the modern-looking bank — which, as designed
Monday, would feature a concave, pitched roof and a heavily glassed
facade — could meet with resistance.
That’s because the proposed location falls within what’s known as
Germantown’s Germanic Theme corridor — about a two-mile stretch of
Mequon Road where village planners have tried tailoring The
village’s planning and zoning administrator explained the guidelines
aren’t written into Germantown’s municipal code, though Jeff
Retzlaff noted Plan Commission members have long held builders to
the Germany-centric standards.
Those standards have left a clear imprint on the area. A McDonald’s
near where the proposed North Shore Bank would go looks more like a
Bavarian chateau than a fast food joint. And a stretch of other
nearby retailers bears ubiquitous timber-framed facades that
wouldn’t look out of place in Munich.
“There is kind of a pattern established along that corridor,”
Commissioner Anthony Laszewski said of the bank proposal. “I don’t
see it here.”
Building guidelines along what’s known as the “Germanic
Theme” corridor in Germantown have kept structures —
— tailored to look like
McLean Bennett/Daily News
Shadid agreed, noting other retailers along that stretch
of Mequon Road had designed their own facilities to meet
village requirements. And he pointed to chain retailers
he’d visited in other parts of the country where he said
designers had stretched corporate brands to fit local
“I don’t think we’re asking too much,” Shadid said.
A project management official who spoke at Monday’s Plan
Commission meeting said architects had sought to use
materials that would fit the local design requirements.
But commissioners noted they were having a hard time
digesting the modern-looking structure and suggested
additional tweaks — like lintels or other window
treatments — that would better fit the area’s theme.
Commissioners ultimately agreed to recommend Village
Board approval of the zoning measures, but not without a
few conditions — including that the architectural
renderings come back with some adjustments.
“You’ve got to be more Germanic than what we have here,”
David Baum, a member of both the Village Board and Plan
Commission, told developers Monday.
The recommendation would also call for increased
landscaping near the bank.
“It’s all the flavor of the Plan Commission,” Eric
Neumann, a representative for the firm managing the bank
project and who spoke at Monday’s meeting, said after
commissioners’ votes. “There’s other groups that would
love what we did. The group here doesn’t, so we’ve got
to come up with something they’re going to like.”
Greg Devorkin, the developer behind the project, said
the bank would enhance the area and help facilitate
economic growth. He noted designers could make tweaks to
the proposal, and he was ultimately optimistic the plans
would meet with Village Board approval.
The proposal initially raised questions about parking
availability in the Sendik’s Village Centre, given the
proposed 2,250-square-foot bank would overlay part of
the retail outlet’s parking lot. But discussions Monday
indicated the issue likely wouldn’t be a concern and the
bank would still leave enough parking stalls in the