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Pabst Farms mall coming soon?

Mayor appoints ad-hoc committee to meet next week

Feb. 6, 2013

City of Oconomowoc - Are we seeing signs of life at the dormant Pabst Farms Retail Center site? Mayor Jim Daley said there are imminent things coming," at Pabst Farms which could mean a serious tenant secured to break ground at the mall.

Three Common Council members Tuesday night got a surprise appointment. Alderman and Common Council President, Dave Nold, and aldermen Mike Miller and James Larsen now makeup an ad-hoc committee for the Pabst Farms development.

Daley made his "last-minute" announcement shortly before the council went into closed session on another matter Tuesday. Nold said he hopes it's an indication there is movement afoot for development of the Pabst Farms Town Centre.

The 1-million-square-foot mall has been the most-anticipated and most-delayed component of the Pabst Farms development. Pabst and city officials in the past have said the economic downfall over the past several years has been the main reason the mall hasn't been developed. In the meantime, housing has sprouted up, the Aurora Medical Centre has been built, and commercial development has sprouted up in Pabst Farms.

The development has done so well its tax incremental financing district (TIF) is set to pay off ahead of schedule and has recently been selected as a donor TIF. The donor TIF designation will allow some extra Pabst TIF increment to be allotted to the city's downtown TIF, which is lagging behind for repayment after a lack of development in the past several years.

Daley declined to give additional comment Tuesday night on the reason behind the new committee. "We're still defining the scope of what we are trying to do," said Daley after the announcement.

When he appointed the committee, Daley said his selection of the three members was to "create a balanced approach to imminent things that are coming," adding that the committee is for the "economic and community betterment specific to negotiations with Pabst Farms."

"I know they've been working on different things. We'll see what they have. I think it's positive whatever they can do," said Nold.

Last spring, Common Council approved spending the final $3 million in Pabst TIF funds to build two roadways to the development - the southeast arterial and north/south road. The roads were the last piece of infrastructure to ready the development for the regional mall and another potential tenant.

"They were preparing for something," said Nold referring to the roadways.

In fall 2010, Nold voted to approve spending TIF funds on a joint project between Pabst, the city and the state Department of Transportation for the Pabst Farms interchange. Larsen voted against it, arguing that the city should have contributed less. Miller voted for the measure.

At the time, City Administrator Diane Gard said, "With the southeast arterial being completed, then the site is ready for whatever happens, whether that is DDR (Developers Diversified Realty) and their development (the mall), or if you have that one business looking for a site to build a campus on. With the way we're aligning the road, that area is ready."

Last summer, DDR gave way to Pabst Farms Retail Inc., which took over work to lease and develop the regional mall.

When asked if the change from DDR was a bad sign, Daley said no. "I don't think it hurts the project but strengthens the focus," Daley previously said.

The committee meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at City Hall.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Spring Seedling Sale & Greenhouse Open House: 10 a.m. May 23, NuGenesis Farm, N68 W33208 County Road K, Oconomowoc. A variety of organic veggie and herb seedlings to plant in your home or community garden this spring will be for sale. All plant sale profits will benefit the Giving Garden initiative.

Memorial Honor Celebration: 8 a.m. May 23, Wisconsin Harley-Davidson, 1280 Blue Ribbon Drive, Oconomowoc. Daylong event begins with reveille and breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by color guard and the national anthem. The event also includes military and veterans organizations, interactive displays and vehicles, food and beverages and entertainment. Evening showing of “Honor Flight: One Last Mission.” on a big, outdoor screen.

"Small Space Container Gardens" Seminar: 11 a.m. May 23, Ebert’s Greenhouse Village, W1795 Fox Road, Ixonia. Free educational seminar by gardening expert Melinda Myers. Melinda, who will also be available to answer gardening questions. Enter to win a $500 Ebert’s shopping spree with Melinda.

Tyke Hike: 10 a.m. May 23, Lapham Peak State Park, W329 N846, Delafield. Children and their families will hike with a guide and a representative of the Delafield Library will share books, songs and a craft to enhance the experience. Meet at the Lapham Peak Tower. State park sticker is required.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

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