Oconomowoc city staff and developers at Pabst Farms see an opportunity for retail growth on the city's south side following the announcement by Neumann Development Inc. of plans to build more than 300 homes nearby.

The city of Oconomowoc has viewed the Highway 67 corridor as a target area for more retail development since Pabst Farms was created in 2002, according to Oconomowoc director of economic development Robert Duffy. He said Neumann's plans to begin construction on 326 homes in the village of Summit just east of Oconomowoc could help spark that growth.

“Obviously, the more rooftops that exist out there, the more demand there will be,” Duffy said. “As we as a community continue to grow, we hope those new opportunities will steer toward Oconomowoc.”

Duffy pointed out that the 170 homes and 26 condominiums that currently exist at Pabst Farms helped spur the development that has taken place near Pabst Farms, including the development of the YMCA, Summit Elementary School and the Pick 'n Save Grocery store. He said the city is hopeful that as more homes are built at Pabst Farms, more commercial outlets will follow.

William Niemann, executive vice president at Pabst Farms Development, said retailers would be wise to build stores at Pabst Farms following the announcement of the new residential construction that will nearly triple the number of homes at Pabst Farms.

“We're getting more and more rooftops, more and more families, and retailers need to pay attention to that,” Niemann said.

Pabst Farms Development closed a sale of 250 acres to Pewaukee-based Neumann Development Inc. on Dec. 29 for an undisclosed amount of money. Neumann plans to begin grading the land in spring and hopes to complete the first phase of lots by fall.

According to Niemann, Pabst Farms Development's goal was to set the tone of Pabst Farms by developing the first retail outlets and subdivisions. But now that the area is anchored by early residential and commercial development, the company was happy to sell the land for Neumann Companies to develop.

“We did a lot of things ourselves to begin with to set the tone here, but as time has gone on … we're more than willing to bring other developers in who have declared they're willing to follow our master plan,” Niemann said.

Niemann said he is confident that the housing market will remain in good shape and the development at Pabst Farms will continue to grow.

"We see an uptick in the housing market ever since like spring of last year. There's been more and more interest and we've had more and more inquiries,” he said. “We think there's a good reason to be optimistic to believe the housing market is very strong.”

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