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Mandel, Village Finalizing Apartment Proposal

Originally slated for a decision on Monday, the details of the final development agreement still need to be hammered out and brought to the board for approval on Jan. 21.

The Mandel Group's proposed three-building apartment development is nearing a final vote, now that the first draft of a development agreement has been introduced to the Village Board.

Whitefish Bay trustees had expected to take a final vote on the development tentatively known as Beaumont Place prior to Monday night's meeting, but village officials needed more time to hammer out details, such as a construction start date, a parking agreement and other details in the development agreement, said Village Attorney Chris Jaekels.

"The deal is not in any kind of jeopardy whatsoever," Jaekels told trustees. "We didn't want you to decide on anything tonight where we have a handshake and not a formal document."

The board's approval of the development agreement would be the final green light needed for the developers. Trustees will reconsider the agreement at their next meeting on Jan. 21.

Since the last appearance before the board, The Mandel Group has reduced the number of apartments from 100 units to 90 units to allow more spacious apartments.

"The economics will stay the same," said Dick Lincoln, the company's senior vice president. "We have fewer units but larger units."

Parking lot rezoned

Although the final agreement was not approved Monday night, trustees did rezone the north municipal parking lot as a planned development district.

The three-building apartment development would be constructed in the parking lots bordered by Santa Monica Boulevard, Beaumont Avenue, Consaul Place and the alley abutting the rear end of Silver Spring businesses.

A planned development district, which was also put in place for the expanded Jewish Community Center, allows flexibility in zoning by imposing a specific set of standards unique to the property. The rezoning will not take effect until the development agreement is approved.

Property lines redrawn

The Village Board also adjusted property lines in the north municipal parking lot.

Trustees voted for the village to vacate the southern 21 feet of the 300 and 400 blocks of Beaumont Avenue, which is functionally part of the village parking lot right now.

Currently, the sidewalk on the south side of Beaumont Avenue stretches from Santa Monica Boulevard to the driveway that separates the Fox Bay Cinema parking lot from the parking lot behind Starbucks. With Mandel's ownership, the developers will extend the sidewalk eastward to Consaul Place.

Trustees also voted for the village to vacate the north-south public alley connecting Beaumont to the east-west alley between the 300 blocks of Beaumont and Silver Spring Drive. The Mandel Group would not narrow the alley between the parking lot and Silver Spring businesses.

"The village's action here is not giving up any right-of-way that is in use," Jaekels said. "We're not giving up any land or space that is currently being used for vehicles or pedestrians."

TIF funding approved

The apartments will be financed with $4.6 million in public assistance through a tax incremental finance (TIF) district. 

The TIF proposal was unanimously approved on Dec. 20 by a joint review board consisting of representatives from the village, Milwaukee County, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Whitefish Bay School District and the public. Those entities will lose out on potential new tax revenue from the development for a maximum of 27 years, which is the legal lifetime of a TIF district. 

The village's $4.6 million contribution includes:

  • $1.6 million in direct capital from bond proceeds to benefit the project. The village will pay about $200,000 in interest and issuance costs.
  • $1.9 million in a pay-as-you-go TIF note, which places the up-front project costs on the developer's shoulders with a promise from the village to reimburse the developer
  • $1.1 million in "air rights" to symbolize the value of the air above the public parking lots on the east end. The village will pay itself for the air rights when all other TIF bonds have been paid off.

"We are contributing this general obligation bond which is funded by the new development — not out of our coffers. We are acting as a conduit for the developer pay as you go bond," Jaekels said. "We are contributing our land and then we are getting back a condominium unit that provides the same parking that we have now in the same location underneath the new development."

Once the project is built and stabilized, the developer estimates the property will be valued at $14 million, and return an additional $320,000 in annual tax revenue. The developer expects the TIF will close by 2035, six years earlier than the 27-year maximum prescribed under state law.

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