Real estate developer Keller Inc. intends to convert a former Pick ’n Save grocery store to self-storage in New Berlin, Wis., as part of a proposed mixed-use project that would also include two newly constructed retail buildings on the property. The former store on W. National Avenue comprises 66,893 square feet. The two additional structures would comprise 14,580 and 15,228 square feet, though their positioning on the property hasn’t been determined, according to the source.
Three of the five planning commissioners who were present during a developer presentation last week indicated they are initially supportive of the plan but want to see more details, New Berlin Mayor Dave Ament told the source. City staff recommended Keller pursue a planned-unit development (PUD), since the self-storage portion of the plan would be included without having to apply for rezoning.
“I would like to see more. I think it can be done right. I have seen self-storage facilities where they look nice and they function well, and I have seen some bad ones,” Ament said. “I think it would be a whole lot less traffic and disturbance to the neighbors than the Pick ’n Save was.”
The mayor also indicated the additional structures are attractive to city officials, who would like to spur revitalization of existing properties. The Pick ’n Save has been closed for about a year. “It’s a chance to redevelop areas that are a little bit sluggish,” Ament told the source. “Rather than always looking for a new location and changing the character of a neighborhood, we’re trying to redevelop some of these [commercial] areas and bring their vitality back.”
Planning officials will gather initial feedback from council members and residents, while Keller fleshes out its plan. No timetable is set for when the developer may approach planners with additional details on the project.
Founded in 1960, Keller specializes in feasibility, planning and designing services in addition to development and construction. Its project portfolio includes self-storage in addition to industrial, medical, office, retail and warehouse developments, according to its website.
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