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Meissner family buys back Sussex farm eyed for commercial development

Jan. 29, 2013

Village of Sussex - The nearly 400-acre Meissner Farm - a landmark property at the corner of Silver Spring Road and Highway 164 that was slated for commercial development - may remain a farm, after all.

Hickory Hills Farm Inc. has purchased 370 acres of the land from Johnson Bank which took the property over from Bielinski Brothers who had originally purchased it for residential development.

Until recently, NAI/MLG Development of Brookfield apparently held an option to purchase a large portion of the land.

The development company was in negotiations with the Village of Sussex last year for the development of a multimillion dollar commercial park on 120 acres of the land.

Initially, the developers were seeking village assistance in the form of a tax increment financing (TIF) district for the financing of public improvements that would be needed for the development. Later, MLG/NAI officials suggested the village purchase the property and lease it back to the company who would recruit light industrial and office tenants for the commercial park.

However, initial plans for the development were scrapped after the developers learned project costs were going to be higher than anticipated.

In October of 2012, J. Michael Mooney, chairman of the board of NAI/MLG, said a new plan would be submitted to village officials within "two to three months." Mooney added that NAI/MLG was serving as the listing agent marketing the sale of the remaining 270 acres for Johnson Bank.

Mooney later said he did not anticipate village officials would begin reviewing a new development plan for the site until village officials had reviewed and approved two other development projects, the Meijer supercenter proposed at highways 164 and K (Lisbon Road) and redevelopment of the Mammoth Springs Cannery site.

Mooney and village officials could not be reached for comment.

Peter Meissner of Hickory Hills Farms said the Meissner family closed the sale transaction with Johnson Bank on the property late Friday, Jan. 25.

Meissner said he believed the bank finally agreed to sell the farmland back to the family because there "were too many contingencies" involved in the MLG/NAI offer to purchase the land from the bank for a reported $2.4 million.

The Meissner family had sold the land to the Bielinskis in 2000. They attempted to buy the land back after the Johnson Bank took over the land when the Bielinski Brothers encountered financial difficulties.

Meissner said they wanted to repurchase the farmland because would it compliment a dairy cattle operation the company maintains in Iowa.

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Weekend Happenings

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Rotary Pancake Day: 7:30 a.m. Feb. 28, Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha. Fundraiser for the Waukesha Rotary Club is 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Expo Center Arena. Advance tickets at Waukesha State Bank, downtown location., $5-$7. $5 advance, $7 at the door; free for children 5 and younger. www.waukesharotary.org.

Ninth Annual Oconomowoc Rotary Wine & Brew Fest: 5 p.m. Feb. 28, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royale Mile Rd, Oconomowoc. Wine, food and beer. Features foods from the best of our local restaurants. Purchase tickets at $50 from an O-Town Rotarian, through Facebook, or in person at most area First Bank Financial Centre locations, Books & Company & Lorleberg True Value Hardware. See more at www.oconomowocrotary.org. $50.

Chili Tasting: 11 a.m. Feb. 28, The Garden Mart, W297 S9115 Highway 83, Mukwonago. Chili tasting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local vendors will be selling unique merchandise. Judging is open to the public and all proceeds from voting will be donated to the Mukwonago Food Pantry. Event is free. Call (262) 363-5252 for information.

Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash Literacy Event: 10 a.m. Feb. 28, Hartland North Elementary, 232 Church Street, Hartland. Families with children in 4-year old kindergarten through second grade are invited to a special event. The Cat in the Hat and the Lorax will celebrate with a big birthday cake for all of our guests along with lots of literacy activities based around Dr. Seuss books.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

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