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Four-Story Luxury Apartments Proposed for Fox Bay Parking Lot

The proposal from The Mandel Group would build three high-end apartment buildings in the lot spanning from Associated Bank to Starbucks without significantly reducing parking availability.

Whitefish Bay officials reacted favorably to a Milwaukee-area developer's plans to build a $27 million luxury apartment community in the parking lot behind the Monday night.

The Mandel Group is well known for its estimated $825 million in high-end apartment and condominium developments in the Milwaukee area, such as Marine Terminal Lofts in the Third Ward, University Club Tower downtown, The North End on Water Street, and soon, .

The developer unveiled its plans for Whitefish Bay in front of the village's Community Development Authority and Architectural Review Commission Monday night. The proposal calls for the construction of 103 high-end apartments in three buildings in the north municipal lot spanning from Santa Monica Boulevard to Diversey Boulevard.

Dick Lincoln, senior vice president at Mandel, said the added 103 apartment homes would bring more foot traffic to the area, which was a suggestion in the Silver Spring Master Plan drafted in 2003.

"What we want to do is drive traffic into businesses on Silver Spring without adding more automobile traffic," Lincoln said.

All three proposed buildings would offer underground parking for building residents, so only three total parking lots would be lost under the new configuration.

The two apartment buildings proposed on the east end of the parking lot would retain the ground level parking configuration, with three levels of apartments above the sheltered parking area. The west end of the parking lot, which Anchor Bank reacquired a couple months ago, would feature a building with a different type of architecture and no ground level parking.

The Mandel Group has signed a binding contract to purchase the western-most parking lot from Anchor Bank. The village would maintain ownership and maintenance responsibilities over the eastern parking lot.

To finance the project, the developer is asking the village to create an overlay tax incremental finance district for the eastern end of the project and a redesigned public walkway. A TIF district is a public financing tool that allows the village to borrow and spend money on public improvements, and then recoup the money through the growth in tax revenue generated by those improvements.

Because the village would retain ownership over the parking lot, the developer is asking the village to assist in financing their estimated $2.7 million in public parking renovations by issuing $1.7 million in TIF bonds. Once the project is built and stabilized, the developer estimates the village would receive an additional $320,000 in annual tax revenue.

Shifting Away From Condos

Nationwide, the developers said there is a shift away from condos, and locally, condos have not done well in the North Shore area.

The high-end apartments will be targeted for "empty nesters." A demographic study shows nearly 50 percent of Whitefish Bay households don't have children as primary residents and one-third of the village is over the age of 50.

Instead of keeping up with the maintenance of their existing home, or moving into a standard apartment building, Robert Monnat, chief operating officer of Mandel, said there is a need for high-end apartments that do not have the maintenance requirements of a house or the obligations of a condominium mortgage.

"When apartments were built in the village previously, they were built for people living in apartments as housing of need rather than housing of choice," Monnat said. "What we're proposing to build is condominium quality living units in a multi-family setting that we happen to rent instead of sell."

A New Look

The development plans also include streetscaping design elements, such as a redesigned 40-foot-wide pedestrian passageway between the Cutter's barbershop and . The new gathering space could be used for the Whitefish Bay Farmer's Market and other community events. A similar pedestrian link was suggested in the Silver Spring Master Plan.

The proposal also includes more wayfaring signage and eliminating the curb cuts on the Beamont Avenue side of the parking lot, making it safer for pedestrians to walk in that area. The area between the parking lot and the rear end of Silver Spring businesses would also be redesigned to resemble an British mews.

Mandel plans to hire traffic engineers Ayres Associates to do a parking utilization study to sort out the parking configuration and traffic impact of the development.

Architecturally, the three buildings are designed to appear as five buildings in order to "break down the scale of this development into buildings reasonably compatible with buildings here on Silver Spring," said architect James Shields of HGA. Two of the buildings would feature a grassy courtyard roof on the second level.

CDA Chairman Ray Krueger said the buildings, if approved, will be a centerpiece for Whitefish Bay, and he recommends the developers try to implement as many energy-efficient elements as possible into the design plans.

"This ought to represent a state-of-the-art 21st century building," he said.

John Stuhlmacher, the chairman of the Whitefish Bay Business Improvement District, said he was supportive of the added foot traffic on Silver Spring, but he said members of the business community were concerned about ripping up the lot they just paid to .

Stuhlmacher added businesses are concerned about the loss of parking during construction. The developers plan to stagger the construction and leave a portion of parking available at all times.

The proposed development meets most of the requirements for the current zoning on the site, but Mandel will go through the planned development process, which allows exemptions and flexibility to conventional standards. That process begins with an informal presentation and pre-petition conference before the Plan Commission Wednesday night.

The Plan Commission, CDA and Architectural Review Commission will continue to discuss the proposal and eventually make a recommendation to the Village Board for a vote.

Absolutelyfabulous May 15, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Some people just have a gift. You guys really are too easy. http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/business/140597053.html#!page=1&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst Truman Burbank - Feb 28 at 9:18 AM - Report Abuse Part 1(A) from the Feb 28th Land & Space JSOnline. I wonder if WFB will be getting into the real estate business and purchase the parking lots behind Fox Bay Theaters from the bank for a steal. Actually, they control the zoning and would be in the best position to make the purchase because anyone else can be given the run around or just shot down when they seek to re-zone the property for more units than what is currently allowed or from condo to allow apartments which is the only route to pursue these days.They hold the cards on this one. Then they completely circumvent what happened in New Berlin w/ a developer coming in and proposing low income housing and suing the city and winning not only $$$ but the right to build. They then come to terms w/ a "trusted developer" and get the ball rolling. I can't believe Mandel or Wired Properties haven't already signed some sort of deal.Though, in WFB they invited the public to weigh in on what they thought/felt when New Land made their re-development proposals. Then again, New Land had their reputation that preceeded them and having the public come out in force to shoot downanything they proposed actually helped them.
Absolutelyfabulous May 15, 2012 at 10:50 AM
Part 1(B) Would the Village of WFB be as open/forthcoming w/ residents if they have a developer already selected vs in Shorewood where everything was done behind closed doors and the public had absolutely no say in terms of what was developed/what it looked like/how many units/how high and how much $$ was given away or the terms.Apartment building is the hottest sector and the WFB parcels are extremely valuable and desirable now and into the future. They can command some high rents on anything of quality built. http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/business/140597053.html#!page=1&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst Truman Burbank - Feb 28 at 9:07 AM - Report Abuse Part 2 Some of you in WFB have become vocal about what's happening on the N.end of Oakland in Shorewood and what's not happening on Silver Spring in WFB. You may get your wish. Hopefully, when those lots are re-developed you are invited to meetings and have an actual say, as you were previously, in what is approved vs no say whatsoever and all deals done behind closed doors in Shorewood. Then again, they may take Shorewoods lead and realize they can just push through everything and do what they want. Things go much faster when you keep the public out of the loop and determine all financial agreements/packages/grants/creation of TIF's behind closed doors
Bob McBride May 15, 2012 at 11:14 AM
"John Stuhlmacher, the chairman of the Whitefish Bay Business Improvement District, said he was supportive of the added foot traffic on Silver Spring, but he said members of the business community were concerned about ripping up the lot they just paid to reconstruct last summer. Stuhlmacher added businesses are concerned about the loss of parking during construction. " ************************** Really? Is the WBBID serious about wanting to drive traffic through the area and giving its members a better chance at survival? If so, these trivial matters shouldn't even come to mind, much less become an expressed concern. This is an opportunity to actually put some permanence into the foot traffic situation, much more so than did the minor cosmetic upgrade of a couple years back or continually trying to guilt residents into supporting businesses on that stretch. For those who want a quality restaurant in the area, this type of development offers the first, real possibility of making that happen as well. Granted, there may be other reasons not to support such a development but for the WBBID this is nothing but a positive. From what I've seen in Shorewood, Mandel seems to be able to roll with the punches pretty well. But it would be nice to think that our BID did have the vision to see the enormous opportunity this offers them and not get overly concerned about the trivial.
Absolutelyfabulous May 15, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Hav'n FUN http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/business/143709216.html#!page=1&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst Truman Burbank - Mar 22 at 11:36 AM .The site is EXTREMELY valuable or potentially w/ every possible thing going for it. The site is currently zone for Condominiums. Anyone coming into this would have to seek a zoning change to most likely apartments. The village, if they were to change zoning, would have to worry about some developer wanting to come in and throw them a curve ball and propose low income housing and potentially end up w/ a lawsuit from the developer/US gov't as happened in New Berlin. So, does the village seek to acquire the property so they can have full control over any/all future developement or get into negotiations w/ a "preferred developer" behind the scenes that they can trust who can then move forward w/ a development "proposal". I would think that w/ this parcel having such strict zoning and what needs to be done to allow any type of development outside of Condos to move forward affects the price at which Anchor can command for this parcel. Outside of the potential deal someone can get from a foreclosed property, I wonder how much of an additional discount will be added to this property since the village of Whitefish Bay is in the driver's seat on determining how valuable this parcel can ultimately become because at this point there is a pot of gold in the form of parking lots waiting to be redeveloped in WFB and the Village has the control.
Absolutelyfabulous May 15, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Question- Shorewoods $35,000,000 Mandel development will have an "Estimated" taxable value of $22,000,000 by the year 2039. (No typo on that one) Is the WFB development going to be following a similar pattern via costs and potential future value? Also, as asked in Shorewood and no answers forthcoming..What happens if Mandel flips this property before the TIF is paid back? Does it become due in full at the time of any sale of this property in whole(as an apartment complex) or in part (when the market turns and these are sold as condos)? Mandel likely just got one he** of a deal in purchasing this parcel from Anchor Bank (Any word what that price is BTW) and why not carry that through to see what can be had from the Village in terms of how grants/TIF's are potentially structured.
John May 15, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Bob the BID has not come out in favor of or opposed this development. We do have a major concern with the loss of a large piece of our municipal parking inventory for an extended length of time. Having just gone through a reconstruction of the parking lots last year we have a real idea of how much this will affect business in the area not just speculation and hearsay.
John May 15, 2012 at 02:22 PM
The Anchor Bank Lot is currently zoned “Automobile Parking” and the Municipal Parking Lots are zoned “D11 Commercial” so it would have to be rezoned for this proposed usage. This process will begin at the Plan Commission meeting on 5-16-12
Bob McBride May 15, 2012 at 03:48 PM
John, are all the businesses in the area so on the bubble that a temporary parking issue is going to either put them out of business or send them scattering? What about the long term? If we keep thinking about the first 6-12 months of a project and not look at the big picture, we're never going to get to a level that can sustain businesses and put an end to the revolving door going on in some locations. Are you happy with the empty storefronts and revolving-door tenants? How do you intend to increase traffic in lieu of something like this? Do you want to keep losing business to Shorewood and Bayshore? You should be in favor of this and you shouldn't let temporary inconveniences like this one cloud your ability to see the future of the Silver Spring business district. It can grow and, hopefully, be more successful. Or it can stay the same and stagnate - or worse.
Absolutelyfabulous May 15, 2012 at 03:52 PM
It's a done deal, just as in Shorewood. Anything going forward now is just a dog & pony show. You should just tell them to present the renderings of what the development will look like (they've already pretty much laid out what the concept/# of units/height) and what the exact financial packages are that have been agreed upon/put together w/out wasting everyones times/energies under the guise that they have any say in how this development proceeds. Mandel has a BINDING agreement to purchase the lots from Anchor Bank . That says it all. The fact that he is once again probably purchasing these lots for a steal might leave some room for play/modifications in the proposals. A developer is going to come in and shoot for the moon in terms of what they want and it's not like in Shorewood (where once again everything was hush, hush). In Shorewood, Dan Katz had everyone by the cojones since he owned the parking lot which was necessary for that development to proceed, thus he was in control and took everyone to the cleaners on what he most likely sold his parking lot for. Now, in WFB, even though Anchor Bank has taken control (which I'm sure Mandel et al got their foot in the door on this one as soon as Anchor filed foreclosure proceedings), the Village haas the bank by the cojones due to the zoning changes necessary for any development to move forward. No development, no sale of the lots behind Fox Bay by Anchor. Shorewood was taken to the cleaners, WFB most likely not.
Absolutelyfabulous May 15, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Wait Just One Minute. Do as they did in Shorewood. After all was said & done and press releases issued, Sendiks was Granted/Given $200,000 by the Village Board in addition to the $150,000 very low interest loan. The $200,000 was most likely a combination of paying for potential loss of customers/income during construction and to clear the way for any potential obstructions in getting the development to proceed. Seriously, there is going to be a brand spanking new Metro Mart built on the next block and yet they just hand out $200,000 to Sendiks. You people need to draw up your wish lists and start putting some #'s together for your potential pain & suffering.
Absolutelyfabulous May 15, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Then again, knocking out Fitzgeralds & Ruhanana's (or however it's spelled) paves the way to combine those 2 spaces for a prime restaurant space in the heart of Silver Spring w/ parking in back. I would think that Berkely Cafe space or whatever that is, will start to look good to some food/restaurant operators. Though, I wonder if the What's Poppin landlord had any idea what was in the pipeline and rented out his space to the yogurt guy for a song or what the lease terms are.
John May 15, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Bob the point that I was attempting to make is that the parking issues need to be discussed up front. As for the "Are you happy with the empty storefronts and revolving-door tenants? How do you intend to increase traffic in lieu of something like this? Do you want to keep losing business to Shorewood and Bayshore?" One Business moved to Shorewood due to the fact the building they were in was purchased buy someone who wanted to open a new business on Silver Spring Drive. And revoling door tennants is exactly what we have been working to prevent with our retail incentive grant program. First Moday of every month at 8:30 a.m in the Village Hall Board Room is the BID Board Meeting which is an open meeting feel free to stop by and see whats going on.
John May 15, 2012 at 05:19 PM
The clarify Anchor only owns ONE of the THREE lots. The Village owns the bulk of the land.
Bob McBride May 15, 2012 at 06:16 PM
John, when I referenced business going to Shorewood and Bayshore, I wasn't referring to physical businesses. As regards those, we've lost two long time Silver Spring businesses to Mequon and Cathedral Square as well. I was referring to customers. Foot traffic. I do a lot of my shopping in Shorewood and virtually all of my away from home casual dining there as well. I'm certainly not alone in that regard, as evidenced by posts seen here on a regular basis. I'd be curious to know what the BID's position on the Aurora Medical Facility that ate up literally a block of potential retail Silver Spring facings. If the organization supported it, I'd like to know the rationale. If not, I'd like to know who gives the go ahead on something like that. I'd like to attend a meeting, however 8:30am on a Monday is not something I can readily fit into my schedule.
Absolutelyfabulous May 15, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Semantics. Everything going forward is just a formality from here on. The Village wants these open spaces/parking lots re-developed. They add a nice little boost to the tax base and is the highest and best use for these parcels. In Shorewood, Katz owned 1 parcel and the Village owned the other. In order for the development to proceed both parcels were needed. I'm sure that in order to keep the height at 4 stories in WFB, get a higher # of units, allow for parking etc..All parcels are needed and have been taken into account so people can "hit" their numbers. I actually like the WFB location much more than Shorewoods development. More residential like, closer to the lake/Klode ( much nicer than Atwater and secluded), Bayshore, Sendiks, JCC..This is a bottom of the 9th inning bases loaded outa the park home run. What's even funnier is that Shorewood gave away the kitchen sink to Mandel in the form of ~$9,000,000 in grants/TIFs and the WFB development will take precedence when people are comparatively shopping for higher end apartments in the North Shore between the 2 communities. Better all around! I just wonder how much of his own $ Mandel is kicking into this deal outside of Village TIF's/grants and Bond funding. Either way, Barry's sitting pretty sweet w/ ZERO competition in WFB for what will be the highest priced apartments, but also condos when/if he ever decides to flip and sell out. I wonder if he has special "laughing all the way to the bank" persona?
Rg May 15, 2012 at 08:32 PM
This development proposal needs to be stopped NOW! It will only hurt the Village. The business district is great as it stands. 113 apartments of conservative empty nesters will not help anything. It will probably hurt our district. The reason I fo my daily business on Silver Spring is because of the convience of parking. Most people that have saved properly for there retirement are not going to rent an expensive apartment. They will buy a condo, like all of my friends that have moved out of the Bay. I like to park on the street or in theese lots and hit Fitzgerald's, Bread Smith, Starbucks, and others daily. If the parking is not convenient I won't stop. Keep our parking and convience.
Absolutelyfabulous May 15, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Is this missing from Patch's article. According to JSOnline, "Mandel wants the village to borrow $1.6 million, through a tax incremental financing district, to help finance the project, Lincoln said... IN ADDITION,, Mandel wants to use the development’s property taxes to help pay off the firm’s debt from financing the project. That would total around $150,000 annually for 20 years, Lincoln said." Is this project going to only generate $150,000 in taxes annually from the get go, which would value this project at much less than $27,000,00 or does Mandel just want $150,000 from taxes generated to help him finance this deal that he most likely got a sweet price from Anchor Bank because unless the Village agrees to rezone the property/lots, nothing but condos can be built and on a much smaller parcel. Now, a $1,000,000 house's property taxes are ~$25,000 annually. This is a $27,000,000 development which should translate into roughly $675,000 annually in property tax revenue. Is this development a $27,000,000 development 25 years into the future after it has been converted to condos and sold as in Shorewood? In that case, The current $35,000,000 project has an ESTIMATED property taxable value of $22,000,000 in the year 2039. How much is Mandel paying for this parcel? What is the actual cost to build this project? What is the assessed value going to be upon completion? How much of his own $ is Mandel kicking in? How much of this will be financed through bonds?
AudiFan May 16, 2012 at 01:40 PM
This project is a winner! We need to break ground ASAP. Advice, keep Trustee Foster as far away from this project as possible.

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