Council clears the way for Dave & Buster’s restaurant

Aldermen approve conditional-use permit, 13-1

Nov. 5, 2008

The plan to construct a Dave & Buster’s on Mayfair Road will move forward.

The Wauwatosa Common Council voted, 13-1, Nov. 4 to approve a conditional-use permit for the arcade-themed restaurant, proposed for 2201 and 2215 N. Mayfair Road. The establishment will become the first location of the national chain in Wisconsin.

The decision is a turnaround from the Community Development Committee’s Oct. 28 vote to deny the permit. Three aldermen who originally opposed the development — citing traffic and security concerns — voiced support, albeit with reservations about location and design.

Jeffrey Wood, chief development officer for Dave & Buster’s, said the corporation hopes to open the Mayfair site in early 2010.

Council wants development

Saying he was disappointed in the lack of interest among members of the Community Development Committee, Alderman Atis Purins pushed for the restaurant, citing the desire of the corporation to work with the city.

“This is an operation that understands the importance of security,” Purins said, responding to earlier claims that the establishment could draw security problems.

The economic impact also will be significant for the Mayfair corridor, Alderman James Krol said, acknowledging the $11 million the corporation plans to invest in the site, without city assistance.

The business also will occupy the Ewald dealership, scheduled to close at the end of this year.

Concerns about traffic and location remain for several aldermen, including Dennis McBride and Linda Nikcevich, but both reversed their votes in light of comments received from constituents and the openness of the corporation.

Design issues remain, McBride said, but those elements will be hashed out between the Design Review Boards and the corporation.

Among 11 outlined conditions, the conditional-use permit requires the security plan to be reviewed by the police chief — who earlier voiced confidence in the corporation’s security plan — at 60, 90 and 180 days after opening. The Plan Commission also bumped the minimum age for an unaccompanied adult from 18 to 21.

Alderman Tim Hanson cast the sole dissenting vote, and Alderman Donald Birschel voted present due to a conflict of interest.

Reduced hours urged

Alderman Craig Maher, who said he also questions the building’s aesthetics, said he was concerned about the proposed hours of operation, which, according to conditions set by the Plan Commission, would have Dave & Buster’s closing at 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Maher motioned for the hours to conform with those at McCormick & Schmick’s, which closes at 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Wood said the corporation would work with the city to reduce hours if necessary, but requested those hours be extended slightly.

“An 11 o’clock curfew for an adult establishment, folks, is a little on the early side,” Purins said.

The motion to add an amendment reducing the hours failed, 12-3, with Maher, Dennis McBride and Tim Hanson supporting the motion.

Because the hours of operation are set by a conditional-use permit, the council may revisit the item at any time, Alderman Thomas Herzog said, voicing his desire to see the business succeed.

The corporation has several steps to take, including obtaining permits, but Wood said he hopes to begin the project after Jan. 1.

Jessica Rasmussen can be reached at (262) 446-6658.

Should Dave & Buster’s be allowed to open a restaurant on Mayfair Road? Weigh in in our community forum.

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