St. Francis looks to KK to fuel new development
Upscale Lake Drive grocery store still has not materialized
With a hoped-for grocery store failing to emerge on South Lake Drive, the city’s tax-incremental district is not living up to expectations, St. Francis officials said. Those same officials said they are more optimistic when they look to Kinnickinnic Avenue and its potential for growth.
The city's triangular TIF district is bounded by South Lake Drive, East Howard Avenue and South Packard Avenue. It also includes St. Francis High School, Siepmann Realty Corp. properties and the western portion of Hidden Ponds Condominiums. To see a PDF map of the area, click here.
TIF is a mechanism that allows municipalities to borrow money to develop infrastructure improvements for an area that otherwise would be difficult to develop or redevelop. Money that would normally be used to pay property taxes on the land is diverted from the tax roll to pay off the loan.
City officials had anticipated that the district's value would have increased by $5 million by now, creating about $150,000 annually that could be used to pay back the TIF debt, City Administrator Ralph Voltner said during a June 26 Community Development Authority meeting.
However, that assumption was based on Mandel Group building an upscale grocery store on Lake Drive - a development officials said they believe would spark additional retail growth on the street.
"We're hoping for it (the grocery store), but it hasn't been developed," he said.
Brew pub in works
Meanwhile, CDA members have been setting their sights on the highly trafficked Kinnickinnic Avenue.
CDA members are targeting Kinnickinnic from St. Francis Avenue to Lunham Avenue. The corridor houses a variety of industrial and commercial businesses as well as residential properties.
A brew pub is expected to be constructed on the northwest corner of Howard and Kinnickinnic avenues this summer, and soil samples are being taken at the former We Energies property across the street, said Robert Pleva, CDA member. If the land is found to be buildable, a bank and possible retail establishments will be constructed on the site, Voltner said.
Pleva said those developments likely will act as a catalyst, attracting retail businesses to the surrounding area.
City Engineer Melinda Dejewski said consultants from Graef, Anhalt, Schloemer & Associates have created a streetscape plan for Kinnickinnic Avenue, and will be present at the Thursday, Aug. 21, meeting to help CDA members think of potential developments on Kinnickinnic Avenue.
Layton's future uncertain
Layton Avenue, particularly the Layton Mart Shopping Center, is another part of the city planners have looked to for development. But the recent approval of a Cudahy Wal-Mart, which would be built in close proximity to the shopping center, has caused the CDA to hold off on plans for the area.
If more businesses open at the Layton Mart Shopping Center, the retail establishments likely would not fare well at that location due to the competition from Wal-Mart, Voltner said.
CDA Chairman Bob Carr suggested that members hold a joint meeting with Cudahy officials at a later date so St. Francis officials can become fully aware of plans for the Wal-Mart and planned surrounding retail shops.
Chantel Balzell can be reached at (262) 446-6602.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- South Shore NOW claims a second in state newspaper contest (3)
- Teff Gymnasium forever (3)
- Geocaching is a free, easy activity in any community (7)
- Longing for good biking all year round? It's here
- Flying high (7)
- St. Ann hosts winter market
- Man escapes drug sting after trip to hospital (7)
- St. Ann's hosts indoor winter farmers market
- St. Francis Library celebrates its 25th anniversary
- Special feature: Firefighters train to handle situations involving one of their own (5)