Continuing to ruin the Bluemound corridor one building at a time

The Brookfield Plan Commission really doesn’t get it. Brookfield has tons of empty buildings, but they really don’t care. A developer wants to put in a new building – one that’s 20 feet too close by current zoning to Bluemound Road – and all they are worried about is whether or not there will be new trees in the parking lot.

The Brookfield Fashion Center (think Joann’s and Pier1 and SteinMart) at the northeast corner of Calhoun and Bluemound, is proposing to build a new 4,500 square foot building. They need a special exception to make it happen. What’s really interesting is that Half Price Books, a tenant in the building, just said they’d be leaving. Does that mean 6,000 square feet in that center will be empty while the developer is allowed to build a new 4,500 building that breaks the rules?

The way it looks, I’d say yes. Director of Community Development Dan Ertl, in a quote picked up by BrookfieldNOW, explains the city has allowed it before.

Oh, yes, Plan Commission and Common Council, you’ve let it happen before, but it looks awful! It won’t stop you from making the same mistake again, though. Many of you are so desperate for any kind of growth that you’ll approve bad stuff just to say the city is growing.

I sure hope someone takes a leadership position here and tells the developer no new rules. Good development shouldn’t need exceptions.


  1. I’m neutral, if not postive on this one. I’ve sort of given up on Bluemound Rd, anyway, but there’s several things I like about this (assuming the building is architecturally pleasing). I don’t even include Half Price in my thoughts, as you’d hope the landlord would find a retailer to take that space once it’s open. In fact, I think that strip mall isn’t doing too bad compared to others, when it come to vacancy. Anyway, let me stop rambling.

    It says the setback will be 79′. Looking at where that is going, for as long as I can remember, that’s been a ‘dead’ corner. Even in the peak of Christmas season, it’s empty, no one parking there. Just across the street Marty’s must be less than 30′ off of Bluemound. I would think 79′ would be similar to the M&I down the street, if not even further back. I don’t think putting it there distracts from the overall center layout and would be a nice fill in. Yes, it violates normal standards, but that corner is anything but normal to begin with. And heck we are relocating a business from the town to the city, right?

  2. Bdad, I wouldn’t call it empty – I think there’s excess parking capacity so it appears that way. Good point about Marty’s. I’m betting that was grandfathered in given the age of the building. But it’s true, it wouldn’t be too odd if the new building were about that setback.

    Your heck statement is funny. That’s one rivalry that just won’t die, huh?

  3. More taxes for us!

  4. Marty’s existed in place before Bluemound was 6 lanes plus. In fact, it was only four lanes undivided when Marty’s was built.

  5. I hadn’t thought of that! Marty’s was probably a good 100′ or more off the original Bluemound Rd 🙂

  6. Here’s another bit: it was originally a grocery serving the Italian community living in the areas surrounding Bluemound/Calhoun.