Percheron Square, Brookfield, Wisconsin

Gee, can’t he just name it Vinceville?

The drawings are heading to the plan commission for these 66 acres. Remember, this is already the most dense regular zoning in all of Brookfield. But they want more! It also trashes the Master Plan. Every design vision that the city paid tens of thousands to have drawn is obliterated. That’s ok. We all know that this time the Master Plan will be a magical, “flexible” document.

It’s long, but this is what staff (meaning the mayor) is saying. If you stick it out there’s a reward at the (uhem) end.

2. Percheron Square – General Plan and Request for Public Hearing to Rezone to PDD – Mixed Use Report: 1. Background. This approximate 66 acre site has been the subject of a series of development moratoriums imposed by the City or partially and voluntarily imposed by the previous owner between 1987 and 2001. After the completion of a City Master Plan for the area in 2001, the City established a zoning district for the site that imposed a “growth management” regulation that delayed significant development of the property until certain infrastructure was in place in order to properly manage traffic from the site. Calhoun Road is currently under reconstruction and capacity is being added that will address regional and local needs including the projected traffic from this site.

2. Calhoun Road South Neighborhood Plan. In 2001, the City adopted a comprehensive land use and transportation plan for the area. This plan was called the Calhoun Road South Neighborhood Plan (CRSNP). This plan guided the creation of the current zoning of the property called the “Office and Limited Residential/Commercial District No. 1”or “O&LR/C No. 1”. The CRSNP and, by reference, the “O&LR/C No.1” zoning district lists certain goals and objectives for the site. The primary goal and objective for the site is to create a mixed-use development that creates a lasting and sustainable community distinguished from traditional suburban office parks or other traditional designs for development in suburbs.

More specifically, the document states:

“The Neighborhood Vision proposes the Ruby Farm/WTMJ property as a centerpiece for the community and the defining moment along the Bluemound corridor. As one of the last and largest greenfield sites within the City of Brookfield, the Ruby Farms/WTMJ property has the ability to capitalize on its unique position within the area and redefine the identity of this neighborhood by providing for a mixed-use development that blends residential, retail, office and civic uses.”

The CRSNP also lists many other goals and objectives for the site and surrounding area. Later in this report, a comparison between the proposed project plan for the site and these goals and objectives will be listed.

3. The project called Percheron Square is detailed in the attached binder. In summary, the project includes the following land uses designed in a manner consistent with the design goals and objectives of the CRSNP, i.e. compactness laid out in an urbanized street grid:
• Approximately 500,000 square feet of office
• 291 housing units of which 80 units are senior based units
• Approximately 102,000 square feet of retail
• Approximately 92,000 square feet of civic/institutional use; in this case, a fitness center
• 75,000 square foot hotel

4. The concept plan for the site under the CRSNP was illustrated as:

vk.jpg

The principal elements of the concept plan include a “Hedgerow” running along Calhoun Road and a “Sculptural Green” along Bluemound Road. Both are landscape and design features reinforcing the unique character that is to be developed on the site.

Also, street extensions and connections are anticipated such as Patrick Boulevard to the west and Golf Parkway and Ruby Lane extending west of Calhoun Road.

Lastly, a “land swap” between the portion of the Ruby site along Calhoun Road and the Swanson school site was anticipated where the athletic fields at Swanson School would move to the west of the school and the frontage along Calhoun Road would be converted to housing.

5. The O & LR/C District #1 Zoning District implements many of these features of the CRSNP by:
• Suggesting land use mix by square feet
• Hedgerow, Sculptural Green requirements
• Playfield swap
• Expectations for densities above 0.30 FAR
• Access to open spaces, trails, etc

6. The staff has compared the components of the Percheron Square project with the expectations and requirements of the CRSNP and the “O&LR/C District #1”. Significant differences are in bold along with staff comments:

A. The OLR&C District #1 states as follows:
• % use by category – District #1 states that at least 80% of the total floor area is to be office and residential. 77.3 % proposed. (Total square feet is 1,278,600 square feet; office/residential is 988,200 square feet)(FAR would be 83% if the hotel were included as a residential component)
• Approximate square feet by category – District states square feet expectations:
o 562,780 square feet office: 490,200 square feet proposed (applicant states that more square feet is not economic viable due to parking structure costs)
o 238,154 square feet housing or 159 units, predominant three stories: 498,000 square feet proposed (296 units of which 80 units are senior) two and three stories (Additional housing eases PM peak hour traffic)
o 5,538 square feet retail: 123,800 square feet proposed (Applicant is willing to build true two-story mixed use buildings – not faux two-story – and staff supports additional square feet to achieve vertical mixed use.)
o 45,692 square feet civic/conditional uses: 91,600 square feet proposed (Fitness center) (Additional square feet adds to the full range of services that the fitness center provides, almost akin to a small community center with a hub of many activities – fitness, day care, health services, associated retail, nutrition, etc.)
o 75,000 square feet hotel, hotel not specifically listed in use expectations in District #1 (A hotel – particularly catering to business travelers – would be a good fit in this mixed-use center)

• Building height – District maximum is 70 feet.

• Gross FAR. District states that any FAR greater than 0.30 must result in greater participation in park/open space plan elements beyond standard requirements. The FAR proposed is 0.489 so, in addition to paying parkland fees ($521 per residential unit), the staff will recommend that V.K. build the Greenway Corridor trail segment E to C and permanently dedicate the lands near the farmstead to open space with the farmstead being leased for a low intensity use.
• Show public access links to Hedgerow and Sculptural Green on Bluemound per District. The Development Agreement is to describe how these areas will be maintained per District. This is described and depicted in the applicant’s materials.
• The Development Agreement will describe the organizational structure of the property association that will be responsible for maintenance. This would follow with a Specific Plan approval but the applicant’s materials describe their concepts addressing this requirement.

B. CRSNP – Land use and Transportation Plan. The following describes where Percheron Square is consistent with the neighborhood plan and where it is not (in bold below). Amendments to the CRNSP (via Resolution) will be needed and are listed in bold. .

• No land swap of playfields with Swanson. This is a result of feedback that the staff and applicant have received from representatives of the School District. Staff supports this amendment to the CRSNP as the affected landowner no longer wishes to pursue this goal and the associated road network must be designed accordingly.
• No land swap so therefore no extension of Ruby Lane – Based on feedback from the school district there will be no land swap so the staff is comfortable that Ruby Lane will not be built.
• The Hedgerow is not at a diagonal. This is a result of no land swap – see above.
• The Richter retail center (the old Flanner’s – Huzar center) and Mobil station are not part of the ownership and will not be combined with the master development plan. It is the staff’s understanding that, per the CRSNP, including said properties in the acquisition presupposed the likelihood of creating a TID since these are viable pieces of real estate, notwithstanding that they are in need of rehabilitation or conservation. No TID/TIF is desired by the applicant for this specific purpose and the applicant states that the acquisition of these properties is not economically viable and they have no interest in acquiring said properties.
• The hotel was not part of the listed uses in plan but are a permitted use in O&LR/C District #1.
• Out of the intent of creating connectivity between the Brookfield Lakes Corporate Center and Percheron Square, an extension of Sarah Lane to Percheron Square was contemplated. (Was to also connect to Ruby Lane – see above.) Since the real estate needed to achieve this connection is fully developed and runs through a parking lot, it is not practical to pursue such connection. The applicants have no capacity to force this issue.
• No new north-south connecting roadway along west lot line of WTMJ/Ruby connecting the frontage road, Sarah Lane, Ruby Lane and Patrick Drive. (This is unnecessary without the Sarah Lane connection).
• The CRSNP calls for a connection from Percheron Square to Brookfield Lakes Corporate Center via an extension of Patrick Boulevard. The original Development Agreement (1985) for Brookfield Lakes contemplated the extension of Patrick Boulevard and a road reservation appears on the associated property’s CSM in Brookfield Lakes. The route or alignment of Patrick Boulevard goes through a regulated wetland. The WDNR must approve permits for the filling of the wetland to achieve the long standing goal of extending Patrick Boulevard. To date, the feedback from the WDNR has not been favorable regarding permission to fill the wetland to accommodate the extension of Patrick Boulevard. A lengthy permitting process will be engaged by the applicant with City assistance and possibly Brookfield Lakes Corporate Center assistance, but will not result in a definitive answer from the WDNR in time for a PDD rezone public hearing. The staff is recommending that the completion and submission of a WDNR permit application by the applicants, in a form acceptable to the City, be a condition of a PDD rezoning, be submitted prior to PDD Specific Plan submittal, and that the status of the permit be a subject of discussion at PDD Specific Plan.
• Other aspects of the CRSNP goals and objectives are fulfilled in a manner that the staff finds acceptable and some cases profound, such as the preservation of the Ruby homestead.

7. See the attached binder for PDD submission information related to:
• Organizational structure of property owner’s association pp 18-19.
• Deed restrictions pp. 17 and the Preliminary Plat
• Provisions on shared installation and maintenance of common services pp.18-19.
• Analysis of impact on community- schools, utilities, traffic-pp.24-25.
• Community benefits – fiscal and other pp 22-24, 25-32.

8. Office building yield and related real estate/tax value. As explained on pages 10-11 of the binder, the full yield of projected office building square feet – 490,200 square feet – may not be fully realized in this project if the costs of related parking structures is not economically supported in the marketplace through office space rents. The applicants assert that a suburban office park with the added costs of structured parking cannot compete with traditional office parks that exclusively or principally have surface parking. They assert a tenant will not pay enough extra rent – if any – to pay for the extra costs associated with the costs of structured parking. ($16,000 structured v. $1,500 surface). Therefore, the developer of the office building – absent any other source of financing – is not motivated to build office buildings that rely on structured parking. They assert that most office parks located in suburban areas across the country – at least in the upper Midwest – are still built on the surface parking model since no one will pay for structured parking outside of downtowns. The exception would be for the rare build-to-suit for a high-profile image-conscious corporation who would subsidize the extra costs.

This dilemma of the lack of interest or willingness to pay for structured parking in a suburban office park was recently confirmed by a real estate evaluation expert who spoke recently to the Director of Community Development and the City Assessor.

The consequence of this dilemma is that the applicant or office developer may not build the amount of projected office square feet – 490,200 sq ft – since there will be more land consumed by surface parking if structured parking is not pursued. The OLR&C District #1 projected 562,780 square feet of office and the CRSNP projected even higher amounts provided infrastructure – roads and utilities – were designed to accommodate higher amounts of office.

The consequences to the community with reduced office square feet are multiple and in some regards positive and some regards negative depending on one’s perspective. First, fewer square feet will produce less traffic and burden on utilities. Secondly, less office square feet will produce less real estate and tax value than projected by the applicants. Thirdly, fewer square feet will produce fewer jobs and lower positive impact on the local economy. Lastly, less office square feet also does not contribute as greatly to the overall viably of the “live, work, play” concept of Percheron Square.

The staff has an obligation to identify this dilemma as this site is one of two remaining large sites for development in Brookfield where the community can realize community benefits from development.

The staff has two suggestions to possibly remedy this dilemma if the Plan Commission and Common Council wish to do so:

1. Encourage or require the applicant to convert the stormwater pond contained in Outlot 2 to underground storage so the size of the two office buildings east of the pond on Lot 3 can be maintained. Instead of relying upon structured parking for these buildings, the land above the underground stormwater storage would be utilized for surface parking. One consequence would be that portion of the site would no longer be open space, but that open space is tucked in behind buildings anyway.
2. Encourage (not require) the developer of Lot 4 to consider adding housing to this office site to create a “mixed use” parcel that may qualify for a possible tax increment district (TID). The TID would be limited to Lot 4 only and would create the first truly mixed-use site that places housing and jobs in close proximity to one another and near other community, recreation, fitness and shopping needs. The site will likely be considered by the other taxing authorities as more acceptable as a TID if a compelling tenant, such as a “GE Medical” level user is sought and “landed” by the developer. In addition, staff would represent that this would be a “green site” to the extent of creating a more holistic community that in a small way reduces vehicle trips (called VMT or vehicles miles traveled). Through the combination of potentially more income to the developer by adding housing and through the partial financing of the site infrastructure through a single site TID, a more economically viable development could proceed that would maintain the original office development yield but yet still include the higher costs of a parking structures.

Recommendation:

1. Since the Percheron Square project as a whole meets the goals and objectives of the Calhoun Road South Neighborhood Plan and the requirements of the OLR&C District #1, a recommendation is made to approve the PDD General Plan, subject to:

a. Representations made and plans and documents contained in the “PDD/General Plan Submittal, June 9, 2008 and “Design Guidelines”, June 9, 2008.
b. Submittal of an alternative analysis for a WDNR wetland fill permit in a form suitable to the City Engineer for the extension of Patrick Boulevard prior to submitting a Specific Plan. Construction obligations of such extension to be determined as part of the Development Agreement, if granted a permit.
c. Design and construction of the Deer Creek Greenway Trail Corridor segment C-E, preservation of the Ruby farmstead for an adaptive low intensity use, creation of the Hedgerow and Sculptural Green, all intended to fulfill the District requirements to exceed 0.30 FAR.
d. Submittal of a Specific Plan and Development Agreement for approval.
e. Addressing concerns of the City Engineering Department per recent memorandums dated _________, 2008.
f. Separate review and approval of signage by PRB prior to hearing – referral to PRB.

B. Approve the scheduling of a public hearing to rezone the subject site to PDD – Mixed Use, modifications to the zoning boundary of the “FF” Floodfringe District, and conditional use for such modification.

C. Approve the following amendments to the CRSNP:

• No land swap of playfields with Swanson. This is a result of feedback that the staff and applicant have received from representatives of the School District. Staff supports this amendment to the CRSNP as the affected landowner no longer wishes to pursue this goal and the associated road network must be designed accordingly.
• No land swap so therefore no extension of Ruby Lane – Based on feedback from the school district there will be no land swap so the staff is comfortable that this street will not be built.
• The Richter retail center (the old Flanner’s – Huzar center) and Mobil station are not part of the ownership and will not be combined with the master development plan. It is the staff’s understanding that, per the CRSNP, including said properties in the acquisition presupposed the likelihood of creating a TID since these are viable pieces of real estate, notwithstanding that they are in need of rehabilitation or conservation. No TID/TIF is desired by the applicant for this specific purpose and the applicant states that the acquisition of these properties is not economically viable and they have no interest in acquiring said properties.
• Hotel not part of listed uses in plan but a permitted use in O&LR/C District #1.
• Out of the interest of creating connectivity between the Brookfield Lakes Corporate Center and Percheron Square, an extension of Sarah Lane to Percheron Square was contemplated. (Was to also connect to Ruby Lane – see above.) Since the real estate needed to achieve this connection is fully developed and runs through a parking lot it is not practical to pursue such connection. The applicants have no capacity to force this issue.
• There is no new north-south connecting roadway along the west lot line of the WTMJ/Ruby property connecting the frontage road, Sarah Lane, Ruby Lane and Patrick Drive. (Unnecessary without Sarah Lane connection).

percheron-ass.jpgBy the way, percheron is a type of horse. Here’s a picture of one. I bet it’s a clue as to how I feel about Mayor Jeff Speaker and his plans to sell out yet again…

Also, you should notice that this rezoning doesn’t HAVE A LEGAL LAND DESCRIPTION WITH IT. The mayor doesn’t want the neighborhood to know if it’s possible to protest the rezoning. A protest would mean that 4 no votes on the council could block the rezoning plan.

Finally, VK has 80 more senior housing units in this plan so he can grab more money from the state coffers. His units that are currently in Brookfield ARE NOT AND HAVE NEVER BEEN FILLED AT CAPACITY. His company will whine about how important they are, and the mayor will remind you he’s “all about” seniors.

Comments

  1. Kathryn says:

    I like the paragraph that says the farm is a thing, a moment, and a person–very creative.

  2. Lucky Lady says:

    So where is the legal description for rezoning? It sounds like a lot of legal double talk designed to fool concerned residents.

    It appears that most of the traffic will access the development by way of Calhoun Road. Oh yeah, that’s why it’s being widened. Connectivity by way of Patrick Drive and Sarah Lane sounds doubtful. Shouldn’t traffic access Blue Mound Rd? Keep it away from the elementary school and neighborhood.

    Unless that “fitness center” is free, does it qualify as a “Civic Use?” Staff suggestions eliminate the ponds and convert them to surface parking. Isn’t there supposed to be green space. Density is increased by ignoring existing zoning restrictions. Let a resident try to get a variance!

    I see words like “T.I.D. (TIF) AND FILLING WETLANDS. Does this proposal really meet the requirements of the Calhoun Road South Neighborhood Plan? Residents are required to follow strict water usage restrictions but this proposal has high water requirements. Do we need another fitness center?

    Has anyone at City Hall noticed the numerous commercial vacancies on Blue Mound Rd? All around the city? Senior housing is available elsewhere in the city. We have all the condos and rentals we need. Once again, staff is falling all over itself to accommodate V.K. Just once, it would be nice if staff would fall all over itself to accommodate us.

  3. Are the projections used for this project as accurate as the ones for the original development along Bluemound ?

  4. I Teach says:

    Cindy,
    Very interested in your take on the Plan Comm comments involving the proposed Aldi Market.

  5. You know, that’s the Town, which I don’t watch as closely. Was there something in particular? I did leave a comment on Practically Speaking when Kyle wrote about it.

  6. winegirl says:

    I am wondering what type of market research these developers have been doing to support the contention that more apartment style living quarters are wanted in this area? From what I’ve observed, there are quite a few multistory apartments and condos being built but there are lacking in residents. The location of these developments vis a vis noise, traffic and views are pretty much afterthoughts.

    I could not imagine a less desirable living situation than to live in a strip of land between I-94 and Bluemound Road. Can you imagine the noise and the traffic you’d have to contend with? What makes this an attractive option for a “senior?” For anyone?

    If and when we decide to go back to condo living (we left that behind for a reason,) it will be in downtown Milwaukee or another urban area which is walkable and packed with shopping, restaurants and other attractions.

  7. Lucky Lady says:

    I agree, Winegirl. I wouldn’t want multi-story condo living. Other than the condos, there doesn’t seem to be much to draw in seniors or condo dwellers at Percheron Square. I would like to see an actual fine dining establishment, not something cloned from some national corp. The retail will be related to the fitness center. The rest is offices, assisted living and a hotel. Now a golf course, overlooking the wetland, home of the Butler garter snake, would be great!

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