Mequon - The Mequon Common Council is hoping a major development will breathe new life into the Mequon Town Center.
A four building development featuring both apartments and commercial use on the corner of Mequon and Cedarburg roads gained approval Tuesday, with Alderman Dale Mayr opposed. Residents turned out in droves to show support for the project that Blair Williams of WiRED Properties called the start of creating "the gateway to Mequon and Thiensville."
Residents agreed, citing numerous reasons the project is beneficial to Mequon.
The development includes 28,500 square feet of retail space spread among four buildings. Two, four-story buildings will be mixed use with between 40 to 50 apartments with retail on the bottom level and underground parking. One building will feature only retail space and a fourth building will house a restaurant. WiRED Properties will also build a new American Legion.
TIF funds help city pay debt
The development is located in the Town Center tax incremental finance district. This means the project will generate property taxes that will help pay down city debt. Alderwoman Pam Adams said she is hoping this development will also spark new business in the area.
"We have a TIF right now that is severely lacking in people coming in and I don't want it to look old and it's going to look older and older for new businesses coming in there," she said.
The project's net value of the development is approximately $12 million, generating approximately $3 million in revenue through the remaining life the of Town Center TID.
Mayr voted against the proposal, citing concerns over its size. Historically, he said, Mequon has never favored four-story buildings. Though he liked the overall project, he also said there will not be adequate parking to serve it. There will be 141 outdoor parking spaces and 73 underground spaces serving the site, as well as shared parking with city-owned property. Williams said this should compensate the traffic to the development.
No opposition from crowd
Residents echoed the sentiment of the council, saying the Town Center development is just what Mequon needs.
"The project's buildings are attractive and bringing them out to the street with parking in the rear and ground is consistent with our design guidelines," said Stan Smith, former chairman of the Mequon-Thiensville Town Center Committee. "With this project, people will know they arrived in the Town Center."
Members of the American Legion post also spoke in favor of it. The current American Legion building is deemed a historic building in Mequon; however, Elmer Prenzlow, from the American Legion, said a new building will help the struggling veteran's organization continue to exist for years to come.
"Without moving in this direction we would not have a viable future," he said.
Construction is anticipated to begin this summer, with apartments ready for tenants in summer of 2014.