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New Wauwatosa housing development, The Reef, gets under way

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Aug. 6, 2014

Gesturing toward Saz's State House, where he met his wife, and the Chancery, where he had his first date with her, Gov. Scott Walker was back in his hometown Aug. 5 when he helped break ground on Wangard Partners' The Reef apartment complex coming to 1215 N. 62nd St.

"This is a happening place and it's even more so with this project," said Walker, who has a home nearby on 68th Street. "To see this taking it up a notch, we were pleased not just because this is my hometown but because from an economic development standpoint this is a no-brainer."

Walker donned a hardhat and grabbed a shovel to take the first ceremonial dig on the site. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a state agency, contributed $700,000 to environmental cleanup on the site.

"We recognize that you can be both pro-business and pro-environment at the same time," Walker said.

The former location of Western Metal Specialty, the site has been found to be contaminated with lead, hydraulic oils, chlorinated solvents and likely petroleum. Cleanup work began in early July.

"We're working together to get this cleaned up, add this back to the tax roll and make this a vibrant part of the community," said Stewart Wangard, CEO of Wangard Partners.

The Reef will include four two-story, 18-unit buildings in the middle of the property, and two four-story, L-shaped buildings in the northeast and northwest corners, with 63 and 45 units respectively. There will be a clubhouse at the entrance with a pool and fire pit, and a dog park on the southern part of the site. On the north side of the property, the Schoonmaker Reef will be preserved.

The city of Wauwatosa is contributing about $1.1 million to the project through tax-incremental financing.

"This is a perfect example of how through collaboration, great things can get done," Mayor Kathy Ehley said.

Alderman Dennis McBride, whose district includes the development, also took one of the first ceremonial digs Aug. 5. He said he has heard from constituents looking to move into higher-end multifamily housing, such as The Reef will provide.

"A lot of people are selling their homes and wanting to stay in Tosa," McBride said.

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