The Wauwatosa Common Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a preliminary plan from HSA Commercial Real Estate to move forward with a of the former Roundy's property north of Burleigh Street at Highway 45.
The $45 million plan had been held up by the Community Development Committee before going to the Common Council because it contains less potential for tax revenue and higher-paying job creation than an initial proposal from the developer. The city had wanted to see a mix of uses leaning heavily toward office space and less toward retail.
HSA had presented a revised plan that in its first phase is focused on retail only for a development to be called . Representatives of HSA told city policy-makers that in the current economy, full-scale implementation of the mixed-use plan was simply not viable, but that the first phase retail development would attract more investment for office development in an eventual build-out of the whole 70-acre tract.
Satisfied with the company's answers to their concerns, the council approved the plan Tuesday without debate.
Aldermen also approved a June 21 public hearing on incorporating the into the city's comprehensive plan. Backers of the plan had wanted a resolution adopting the plan, but council members in committee felt their had not been enough public input and comment.
The East Tosa plan calls for investing more than $5 million over the next 15 years to make the North Avenue business corridor more visible and customer-friendly. The first phase would include removing the winding "chicane" traffic lanes that were intended to slow traffic on the thoroughfare and give drivers the opportunity to check out the businesses around them.
The chicanes worked too well, but only at slowing cars, according to a study of the avenue's traffic patterns. Drivers have to pay such close attention to following the flow of traffic they cannot safely read business signs.
Also Tuesday, the council accepted a communication from HSI Properties officially a parcel north of State Street and east of 68th Street that includes a portion of the ancient Schoonmaker Reef, a National Historic Landmark. Ownership of the reef would allow the city to use both zoning and local historic designation to perpetually protect the site.