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European-style bakery likely to open on North Avenue

City's commitment to corridor woos Rocket Baby owner

Nov. 9, 2011

With restaurants Cranky Al's and Il Mito, upscale resale boutique U-Turn and Rosebud Cinema proving popular stops along North Avenue, the 68th and 69th street blocks have become the heart of East Tosa's commercial district.

Wauwatosa resident Geoff Trenholme hopes to launch another successful business, Rocket Baby Bakery, across the street.

He received unanimous support from the city's Plan Commission and Community Development Committee this week. If the Common Council follows suit next week, he hopes to have his European-style retail bakery and coffee shop open in February.

Trenholme plans to fill his shop with artisan breads, breakfast pastries, cookies, scones and muffins, as well as heartier fare such as soups, sandwiches, salads and quiches.

All food products would be made from scratch and baked in-house, which would lead him to hire the equivalent of seven full-time employees for the kitchen and service counter. He received a Community Development Block Grant from the Wauwatosa Economic Development Corp. to help get his business off the ground because he pledged to create jobs.

A full coffee, tea and espresso drinks menu will come from Anodyne Coffee in Bay View.

Before he can start baking, he has the challenge of converting the outdated office building at 6822 W. North Ave.into a welcoming shop and eatery. The building, which last housed a commercial real estate property management company, will see new utilities and exterior and interior renovations. When it opens, there will be seating for 14 patrons inside and eventually a few outdoor seats.

Trenholme said the master plan recently approved to guide future development in East Tosa helped him choose the area - as opposed to just about every other neighborhood within a 30-mile radius that he looked at - where he would set up shop.

"The icing on the cake was when I learned this plan was in the early stage for Wauwatosa," he said.

Alderman Bobby Pantuso, who represents the district where Rocket Baby will operate, was enthusiastic about Trenholme's commitment to rehabilitate a building and create a business the neighborhood can embrace.

Members of the East Tosa Alliance, a group that worked with the city on the master plan, said the planning process has provided some legitimacy and, while only adopted by the Common Council in July, it has already helped attract the interest of a handful of potential developers and business owners.

It was during the planning process that the 68th and 69th street blocks were honed in on as the unofficial heart of East Tosa. However, one of the chief complaints was lack of parking in the area, and with more new businesses entering the market, that could exacerbate the problem.

To that end, the city's proposed 2012 capital improvement program - which received unanimous support from the Budget and Finance Committee on Tuesday - outlines improvements and expansion of the municipal parking lot at 69th Street and North Avenue as the first public project under the new East Tosa vision.

The city has allocated $500,000 in 2012 to acquire the property adjacent to the parking lot and another $1.2 million for 2013 so the lot can be built out to the new configuration.

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