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Wauwatosa's North Ave. boosted by 3 businesses

Two new establishments plan to open; Alterra to expand

Nov. 13, 2012

It was a big night for North Ave. at this week's Plan Commission meeting. A new restaurant, a new woman's clothing shop and an expansion of the popular Alterra at 9125 W. North Ave. gained approval.

Alterrra presented a plan to expand by 660 square feet, taking up more of the first floor of the building it's located in.

That will allow 36 additional seats, said Sean Phelan of Phelan Development, which is buying the building in a partnership from the current owner, WaterStone Bank. About 60 square feet of the new space will be used for storage, he said.

The Plan Commission approved a conditional-use permit for the expansion Monday.

Phelan said the first-floor retail portion of the building has a history of vacancy, but will be full after the expansion of the coffee shop.

Mode, a woman's clothing store that opened in September, taking space formerly occupied by a gelato shop, will remain in its spot on the south end of the building, and an office tenant will take up the remaining space in the middle of the building.

The expansion was opposed by neighborhood resident Russ Drover, who said the parking outside Alterra isn't adequate and cars line up on Jackson Park Boulevard, a block south of the shop. City Development Director Paulette Enders said the parking offered meets city standards. Alderwoman Kathleen Causier urged Phelan to have employees park away from the lot, to allow customers to park in the spaces available.

The project still needs committee and Common Council approval.

Bel Air Cantina moves ahead

Finally, the panel recommended a conditional-use permit that would allow Scott Johnson to open Belair Cantina, a Mexican restaurant, at 6817 W. North Ave. The building is vacant now.

Johnson and partners own a Bel Air Cantina at 1935 N. Water St., Palomino Bar and Restaurant at 2491 S. Superior St., The Hi Hat Lounge at 1701 N. Arlington Place, and The Comet Café, 1947 N. Farwell Ave., among other establishments.

Johnson said he plans extensive upgrades and an expansion of the building, including planting trees and foliage in back and offering patio seating behind the restaurant.

His proposal met mild concern on the part of Thomas and Pamela McCreary, who live in a house on 68th Street, behind the restaurant. A high fence separates their property from the business property, but they were worried about parking on 68th, light pollution and noise from the patio and from people walking to their cars.

"We're torn," said Thomas McCreary, because he and his wife approve of a business occupying the building.

Johnson said the trees lining the fence would help dampen sound, and that he would work with the McCrearys to alleviate their concerns.

The Bel Air Cantina proposal still needs committee and Common Council approval.

Resale shop approved

Another store opening is expected at 7219 W. North Ave.

LaDonna Telford and Richard Bira won approval to open a resale shop specializing in women's clothing. Another proprietor in the same line of business previously occupied the space. Their proposal needs no further action.

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