Cedarburg is revisiting north side business park
Recession stalled the development in late 2000s

Christina Luick

July 11, 2019

The areas shaded in blue indicate those are are being eyed for a new Cedarburg Business Park.
Submitted map

CEDARBURG — After a number of years of postponing the project due to the downturn of the economy, the city is looking to revisit developing a north-side business park.

The Cedarburg Common Council Monday approved a contract with a municipal infrastructure firm to conduct an updated construction cost estimate for the potential Highway 60 business park development.

“The intent has always been to try to diversify our tax base and create more jobs here in the community,” Council member Jack Arnett said about the development.

Ruekert & Mielke will conduct the estimate of how much it would cost to build the business park; the council approved a contract with the firm for $10,500. The request does include a wetland delineation of $16,650, but the council agreed to revisit it.

The boundary of the location for the potential business park includes two parcels, according to a letter from Ruekert & Mielke to Public Works Director Tom Wiza. One parcel is adjacent to Highway 60, is approximately 59 acres and is owned by the city. The second parcel adjacent to Washington Avenue at about 57 acres is owned by the Baehmann Family Trust.

Arnett said since about two-thirds of the area of interest is owned by the Baehmann family, they are responsible for paying for their portion of the wetland delineation. Arnett proposed delaying the wetland delineation to give the family time to look into it more.

The wetland delineation would help pin down development yield – a project’s net operating income – which is important  when evaluating the viability of a tax incremental finance, according to the council packet. In a tax incremental financing district, money that would have been paid in property taxes to the city and other taxing districts goes back to pay for the improvements in the district “The (Baehmann) parcel is included because the potential proposed street pattern would connect to Hilltop Drive to complete a loop, and the additional acreage may be necessary to provide positive cash flow for a potential tax increment district,” according to the letter from Ruekert & Mielke to Wiza. “The next step in this project is to determine whether a tax increment district is a feasible approach to moving forward.”

Preliminary engineering studies were done by the city in 2006, but the project was indefinitely postponed due to a downturn in the economy, according to the council packet.

Arnett said part of the reason development hasn’t occurred over the years is because the utilities weren’t onsite.

“Over the years, the city has worked with private developers to extend utilities to serve the Highway 60 corridor and we are at a point where it would make sense to formally update the construction cost estimate for a potential business park development,” according to the council packet.

“This is an opportunity that’s sitting in front of us,” said Council member Patricia Thome.

The council agreed to postpone discussion about the wetland delineation until the next meeting on July 29.