Wauwatosa will negotiate on Village building proposal
Discussions will focus on financing of 3-story structure
The city will enter into negotiations to build a three-story, mixed-use building at 1463 Underwood Ave. under a resolution approved by the Community Development Authority last week.
The CDA specified that city funding to the project not involve a tax-incremental financing district, that the amount of city funding be "acceptable to the authority," and that staff members negotiating with the developer report back by March 15.
The proposal would involve the fire station remnant parcel just south of Fire Station No. 1 in the Village, plus the property now occupied by the Cody & Co. salon at the corner of Underwood and Harmonee avenues.
The authority moved forward on the proposal just two days after a presentation of the building plan to the Common Council, which met March 5 as a Committee of the Whole. While council input ranged widely, there was strong resistance to TIF funding, and a general sense that city assistance not exceed $1 million, a figure suggested by Finance Director John Ruggini as an amount the city could contribute without the special funding.
The original proposal for the site was a four-story building with retail space on the first floor and 36 apartments above. Objections to the height and size of the building by Church Street residents, on the other side of the block, motivated the authority and the developer, Phelan/WiRED, to pursue a three-story structure.
At the March 5 meeting, Ruggini said construction of the four-story building would cost $8.2 million, while the less-efficient, three-story version, with 30 units, would run just slightly less, at $8.1 million. The financing gap, presumably filled by the city, rose as the building shrunk, from $1.4 million for the larger building to $1.8 million for the three-story building.
Ruggini said city funding of $1 million would include $500,000 to $600,000 for public parking on the site, with the balance provided as a loan to the developer.
At the meeting, developer Sean Phelan said improving economic conditions have allowed him to shrink the gap on a four-story structure from $1.4 million to $1.1 million and to bring the gap on the three-story plan from $1.8 million down to $1.4 million or $1.5 million.
"We're getting there," Phelan said.
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