Wauwatosa, meet Meijer

Sept. 19, 2012

The art of economic development could be compared to a delicate evaluation of a prospective dance partner. The analysis often includes issues such as availability, appearance, compatibility, and finances.

City of Wauwatosa, I'd like you to meet Meijer.

Meijer is a 78-year-old, Michigan-based grocer/retailer who pioneered the one-stop-shop Super Center concept in 1962. Meijer has asked the city to approve a 157,000-square-foot grocery and retail facility at the southeast corner of Burleigh and 112th streets. This property contains the vacant Stroh Die Casting building and a former car dealership, part of a long desolate stretch of real estate with enormous development potential.

Meijer would like to create a multi-store presence in the metro Milwaukee area, having made applications for stores in Franklin and Grafton earlier this year. Are they a good match for Wauwatosa?

I see several positives to the introduction of Meijer here in Tosa. First, they fill a significant portion of what many have termed a vast wasteland along Burleigh.

Second, they are not asking the city for any financial assistance; in fact they could create $17 million of taxable property value (using Target as a comparably sized business). With current property tax levies frozen, this is the only way to grow our tax base.

Third, they will add a significant number of jobs to our community to staff their 24-hour-a-day operation.

But some have asked if this area needs another grocery store, a very valid point with the recent introductions of Walmart, Aldi and Pick 'n Save on Mayfair. Can the existing concrete expanse be turned into sufficient greenery? Will the building create an inviting "wow" factor to this important gateway into Wauwatosa from the west? What will be the impact on traffic, particularly from the east on Mayfair Road?

I invite you to take a broader, visionary look at how Meijer fits into an emerging retail destination on the west side of Wauwatosa. The computer store Micro Center has purchased the property to the immediate west of the Meijer plan. Negotiations continue on the proposed Mayfair Collection retail center to the north of Burleigh. Add in the Lowe's complex and we see the formation of a vibrant Burleigh corridor. Now add in the Mayfair Road retail corridor and the flagship Mayfair Mall and a shopping destination emerges, with stores unique to Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

Let's take our image one step further. The County Grounds to the south of this retail haven includes an equally impressive and emerging business corridor along Highway 45, with the Medical Complex, Research Park, GE Healthcare and a future UWM Engineering School. Add in your favorite creative development in the northwest quadrant of Highway 45 and Watertown Plank Road and a workplace destination emerges, with jobs in the life sciences, technology, research and education fields.

When you combine a retail destination with an employment destination, the result is not only a place to shop and work, but a place where people want to live. And that is a good image for a vibrant and growing Wauwatosa.

Meijer has evaluated Wauwatosa as a dance partner and likes what it sees. As we do our diligence on Meijer, let's ask the tough questions but let's also consider how Meijer fits into the vision of how we want Wauwatosa to look and grow.

Alderman Jeff Roznowski represents Wauwatosa's 6th District.

Community Watch

» Long-tenured sports writer Sky Skibosh heads into retirement, sort of 6/26

» Family, friends of man killed by Wauwatosa officer want answers 6/25

» Tosa man with gun trove to plead guilty of illegal dealing 6/24

» Wauwatosa endorses bus rapid transit route, more approvals needed Updated:  6/23

» Video: Tosa Top 5: Five things you need to know about in Wauwatosa this week 6/23

» Wauwatosa officer fatally shoots man at Madison Park 6/23

» Wauwatosa Public Library announces list of summer events 6/22

» Blood drives scheduled for Milwaukee County during month of July 6/22

» Two lanes on Wauwatosa's Harmonee Bridge to close Thursday 6/22

» Milwaukee Co. Zoo welcomes baby harbor seal, bonobo 6/22

» Teens accused of trying to rob Tosa resident with BB gun Updated:  6/22

» Hidden Tosa: Inside the Wauwatosa Police Department 6/22

» Offense holding back Wauwatosa West baseball team 6/21

» Wauwatosa East baseball wins four conference games 6/21

» Former Wauwatosa West star Austin Jones drafted by Chicago Cubs in 26th round 6/21

» East Tosa Gran Prix returns to Wauwatosa June 26 6/21

» Wauwatosa School Board votes to give teachers a bump in pay Updated:  6/20

» New records for Tosa Swim Club 6/20

» Tosa customers temporarily lose power after squirrel causes blown fuse 6/20

» Video: VISIT Milwaukee, city of Wauwatosa launch new tourism video 6/20

» Mayfair mall's Sephora draws police attention since February Updated:  6/17

» Pool at Hoyt Park running again following mid-week mechanical failure 6/17

» Wauwatosa seeks participants for survey on city communication 6/17

» Tosa Top 5: Five things you need to know about in Wauwatosa this week 6/16

» Initial Reaction Podcast: MLB Draft's Wisconsin flavor and WIAA's postseason model Updated:  6/15

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Best Summer Ever

 

We've made it easy for you to get out and go this summer. From hitting the trails for a bike ride or walk, to where to find beer gardens in the area, to the best places to swim in Waukesha County to the best summer drinks and summer reads, check out our 2016 summer guide.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Hidden Tosa

 

"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where our Wauwatosa reporter explores the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.

Advertisement

CONNECT