Two housing developments take steps forward

City will get less for former dump site

Dec. 9, 2009

The Community Development Committee gave its support to two developments that would add more than 550 housing units to Wauwatosa.

A development with the working name of Mount Tosa - due to its placement at a former dump site - and The Enclave, an urban-style apartment complex for young professionals, could be under construction in the city come spring.

A year after the final plans for Mount Tosa were approved by the Common Council, the city has worked out the details of a developer's agreement for an 18-acre parcel of land at the public works yard at 113th Street and Walnut Road.

Soil uncertainties reduce price

Toldt Development plans to build 427 units, a mix of condominiums and apartments, with some specifically for senior housing. However, the site's soil conditions have been a sticking point, City Attorney Alan Kesner said.

Although extensive subsoil borings have been done, the stabilization needs beneath each of the proposed buildings will not be known until excavation begins. Problems that could arise in that regard, and the work it will take to fix them, led the city to offer a $431,000 credit to the developer, reducing the effect of the $1 million purchase price.

"We've negotiated what we believe is middle ground," Kesner said.

The credit would be provided to the purchaser due to excessive costs to address subsoil stabilization. If any of that money is not needed, it will be split between the city and Toldt as an incentive for taking on the project.

Initially, the city expected to get $1.2 million, money that was going to go toward the Hart Park athletic complex improvements. When property sale negotiations slowed last spring, the council decided to borrow the money for the improvements, with the intent to reimburse from the revenues of the land sale. Now that reimbursement will be much less, and other capital projects will need to come in lower than expected or be scaled back to make up the difference, City Administrator James Archambo said.

In the long run, the city expects to make money off the $50 million development in the form of taxes, Kesner said. If the council approves the developer's agreement, phases of the project would go up from 2010 to 2016.

And as far as the Mount Tosa name, it won't appear on any signs, the developer promised. It started as a joke, and it stuck.

Enclave brought to scale

Over on the Village's east side, 152 apartment units are expected to go up at 62nd Street and Martin Drive.

Waukesha development group HSI Residential I has submitted final plans for two buildings, dubbed The Enclave, on the former Derse property. Changes were made from the initial single-building plan so the project looks less imposing and better fits with the surrounding single-family neighborhood, architect Gene Guszkowski said.

"Over the last six months, we made plan improvements," developer Ryan Schultz said, adding that numerous meetings have been held with city staff, elected officials and the neighborhood association.

The urban design - reminiscent of Milwaukee's East Side - remains, but soil tests showed the ground-level parking could be sunk down a bit to bring the building height a bit lower. Also, developers acquired land to the east so traffic can have direct access to 60th Street rather than being routed along residential Martin Drive.

More amenities also will be provided. A pool, community rooms and a fitness center are included. And one-, two- and three-bedroom units would be available.

The committee said the project has progressed nicely, and that they see apartment and condo developments as the future for this area of the city, which has several old industrial buildings that could be redeveloped.

Next Step

WHAT: Common Council vote on developer's agreement for the Mount Tosa housing project and the final plans for The Enclave apartment complex

WHERE: City Hall, 7725 W. North Ave.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday


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