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$50M Mequon town center to be anchored by microbrewery

Thursday, July 20, 2017   (0 Comments)

Business Journal
Sean Ryan


A $50 million development anchored by a microbrewery would convert an industrial property in Mequon into a town center with restaurants, retail and housing.

The so-called "Foxtown” project would cover 17 acres south of Mequon Road on both sides of Industrial Drive, according to plans filed with the city. As envisioned, it would take several years to build, but would include more than 100 luxury apartments, a brewery and beer hall for locally owned Foxtown Brewing Co., a restaurant operated by Gordon Goggin, owner and operator of the Stilt House in Cedarburg, and a neighborhood of $500,000 homes.

Underground brewing caves below the planned Mequon Road brewpub would be opened for tours.

The development fits into Mequon’s broader vision for a town center in that stretch of Mequon Road. That would mean higher-density apartment buildings to bring in more people, with entertainment and stores within walking distance. Mequon developer Cindy Shaffer is proposing a 14-acre redevelopment of the city’s land across Mequon Road from the Foxtown property, where she would build about 165 apartments, with surrounding restaurants and retail. Shaffer partnered with Milwaukee developer WiRED Properties on the completed Mequon Town Center, at Mequon and Cedarburg roads.

Mary Clare Lanser, a consultant on the Foxtown team, said the developers plan to reach out to 213 property owners around the site to get public input. An open house is planned for those owners before the Mequon Plan Commission give the project its first public vetting on Aug. 7.

"Some of the key elements of Foxtown are accessibility, pedestrian-friendly, bike-friendly and having a robust mix of uses that benefit each other and the area around it," said Lanser, of New Berlin-based Lanser Public Affairs.

"In the outreach we've done so far, people have been intrigued and excited and happy to see something happen," Lanser said.

The Foxtown development would start with a brewpub that would open in fall 2018 in a restored, historic brewery building at Buntrock Avenue and Mequon Road. That brewpub, which Goggin could run, would have tours of the historic brewery caves below the building, a restaurant, beer hall and banquet hall. Rinka Chung Architecture of Milwaukee drew up the plans for that building.

The Foxtown Brewing business is established by Thomas Nieman, a co-developer of the overall project and owner of Fromm Family Foods.

That brewpub would be followed by a two-story retail building with about 14,000 square feet planned to the east on Mequon Road. That building would come online in spring 2019, and feature a Chicago-style pizza restaurant with open-air rooftop seating.

By that time, construction also would be close to completion on a three-story, 48-unit apartment building on the east side of Industrial Drive, where Go Riteway Transportation Group now has a facility. Those luxury apartments would open in summer 2019. Some would have walk-up front doors. A second, connected apartment building with 48 more units would open in summer 2020.

The "Fox Yard” brewery would open an actual microbrewery on the property in summer 2019 in a restored former lumber shed building on Mequon Road, according to the plans. That building would have a beer garden and bar with limited food options.

The final three commercial buildings in the property would be on the east side of Industrial Drive, across from the apartment buildings. Two matching buildings, each with almost 34,000 square feet of space, would be three stories tall with ground floor retail space, second floor offices and extended-stay "corporate residences” on the top level. Those would open in summer 2020 and 2021, respectively. The third, smaller retail building could follow in 2022.

The final component of the project is a pocket neighborhood on the southeastern corner of the property. That neighborhood would have 23 condominiums that would be built over three years, with the first homes completed in 2020.

Besides Nieman, the developer team includes Robert Bach of P2 Development in Saukville, and residential builder Lakeside Development. Stephen Perry Smith Architects Inc. is the master planner.

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