Update 3/6/18 – VentureSpace has yet to decide if it will move forward with its mixed-use project for New Berlin following pushback from residents last month. The company might even sell the property if it becomes too difficult to meet demands from the city and community, Frede told a source.
“We have communicated with the city and we are not quite sure how we want to proceed,” Frede said. “We need to make a financial decision and we just haven’t made that yet.”
Since the public hearing, Ament told Frede he needs to address resident concerns and create a more “palatable” plan. In particular, city officials want to see changes to the number of proposed units, and specific information about property setbacks and how the company will use screening for the parcel, which is between National and Racine Avenues.
“If we think it’s good enough, we will hold another public-information meeting,” Ament said. “We don’t want to have them spend money on design only for it to be shot down.”
Frede noted the company isn’t facing any deadlines to make a decision about the project, but is considering its options. “We definitely don’t want to sit on it real long,” he said.
2/5/18 – Several residents who could be impacted by the VentureSpace proposal to replace the former Prospect Hill Elementary School with self-storage and commercial condos spoke against the project last week. Those living near the site didn’t like the prospect of an industrial development in the neighborhood, according to the source. Approximately 75 residents attended the 2.5-hour meeting.
“I think the biggest thing was that they were concerned this could create a business park,” Ament told the source. “They didn’t like the density; there were too many units; and they were uncomfortable that the questions and answers were vague at this point about where the entrance would be.”
Though the majority of residents in attendance protested the plan, Frede said several called or e-mailed him the next day to indicate their support. The developer told the source he’d follow up with city officials to gauge their opinions. “If they are against it, it won’t go any further,” he said. “If they are supportive, we will look to adjusting the concept and have another public meeting.”
The city remains neutral on the subject because no formal proposal has been submitted. “We don’t know how many units they’re talking; we don’t know about the entrances; we don’t know about traffic impact,” Ament said. “We do know that the vast majority of the people at the meeting (last Tuesday) and the one about a year ago do not like the idea for a lot of reasons, and they are the ones that would have to live with it.”
1/25/18 – VentureSpace LLC, a commercial real estate developer specializing in duplex-style commercial condominiums, has acquired a property in New Berlin, Wis., half of which will be sold to a self-storage company, with a condo complex to be built on the remaining parcel. The site at 5330 Racine Ave. housed the former Prospect Hill Elementary School, which has been vacant for more than a decade, according to the source.
VentureSpace owner Michael Frede will present his plan to residents during a Jan. 30 neighborhood meeting, which will be co-hosted by Mayor Dave Ament, and aldermen Ken Harenda and Keith Heun.
“The reason we are having a public meeting is because we like to get input and feedback from people living in the area. We want to be sensitive to people’s concerns, and feedback can influence how our development would actually look,” Frede told the source. “We don’t want to be a thorn in people’s sides.”
Based in Nashotah, Wis., VentureSpace is focusing on condo developments in the southeastern portion of the state, according to its website. It has properties in Oconomowoc and Sussex, and is developing a mixed-use project in Cedarburg, which is expected to include self-storage.
Its condominiums are targeted at businesses and hobbyists. The typical unit size is 1,500 square feet with 14-foot ceilings. Custom options include air conditioning and bathrooms.
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