A professional sports franchise planning to make Hart Park its new home, a longtime music store closing its doors and the city getting its first Bublr Bikes station were among the top business stories in Wauwatosa this year. Here's a look at those and some of the other business stories that made headlines in 2016.
Hart Park to host professional soccer team
Hart Park in Wauwatosa will host a professional soccer team in 2017 as the Milwaukee Torrent will make the move from Uihlein Park to the multi-use venue.
"The Torrent are excited to call Hart Park our new home," Torrent owner Andy Davi said. "We will be practicing on the same field where our matches will be held, and this is important for our players.”
The Torrent play in the National Professional Soccer League, a fourth-level league that has over 80 teams throughout the United States. The team will be a part of the Midwest region — one of four regions in the league — and play in the Central division. The number of teams in the division and region is still up in the air but will be settled on by the time the Torrent take the field in April.
Wauwatosa residents concerned about proposed apartment complex
Residents of East Wauwatosa gathered in the public library Nov. 1 to discuss a proposal to build a 66-unit apartment building in the unused parking lot east of St. Pius X Church at 2506 N. Wauwatosa Ave. If approved, it would allow Cardinal Capital Management to construct the residence building on a stretch of land near the corner of West Wright Street and North 74th Street.
Cardinal is calling the development Gridley at East Towne and is also the developer that previously constructed the Pasadena apartments at 8420 W. North Ave. If approved, Cardinal will purchase the 4.69 acre lot from St. Pius and create the three-story building consisting of 46 one-bedroom and 20 two-bedroom units.
The meeting was led by David Ondracek and Paul Fuchs, who both live close to the proposed development. They say since the project was made public, they have witnessed a heightened concern from local residents. Ondracek said he has spoken to nearly 200 people and the vast majority of them understand the parking lot needs to be developed, but would like to be a part of the process and make sure it is done properly.
Mayfair Collection grows
The Mayfair Collection, a large shopping center north of Burleigh Street and east of Highway 45, has seen rapid growth over the last two years with the addition of retail outlets, apartments and grocery stores; in 2016, six restaurants were added to the mix.
In July, ABV Social, a new pub/tavern, Taqueria El Jefe, a taco restaurant, and Cafe Grace, a French bistro, were opened by the Bartolotta group. In November, Milwaukee-based restaurant group Hospitality Democracy opened AJ Bombers, Smoke Shack and Holey Moley Coffee + Doughnuts. They join Osgood's, a burger and ice cream restaurant, and Pizza Man in the fast-growing area that formerly housed industry.
Netzow's Pianos to close
After being in business for 131 years, Netzow’s Pianos in Wauwatosa is closing its doors. Owner Steve Datz said they are saddened by the closing but will be holding a liquidation sale of their inventory. He said a closing date has not yet been set.
"This has nothing to do with any financial issues. I am at an age now that we made the decision to retire," Datz said. "My wife and I have been talking about it for over a year and we did not have a successor."
Datz began working for Netzow's in 1979 as a salesman and purchased the business from the Netzow family in 1988. The company, which bills itself as Wisconsin's oldest piano dealer, opened in 1885 as a piano manufacturer in the city of Milwaukee and has been at the Wauwatosa location, 8853 W. North Ave., since 1979.
Village Chancery to become Jose's Blue Sombrero
Mexican food restaurant Jose's Blue Sombrero will be coming to the Wauwatosa Village. The DeRosa Corporation announced Nov. 16 that they will be closing the Chancery at 7615 W. State St. and renovating it to become what they describe as an "unexpected Mexican food experience." The Chancery has been in that location for 38 years and will close Jan. 14 to allow for the reconstruction. The new restaurant is scheduled to open in early June.
The menu at Jose's includes the traditional Mexican dishes that people have come to expect, like tacos, fajitas and enchiladas. Jose's also fuses food from other genres into their traditional fare to create menu items like Fajita Fingers, Juan Won Beef Kalbi Tacos, Blue Lobster Tacos and Pollo Ala Parrilla.
Wauwatosa rolls out its first Bublr station
One of seven locations around the city. Chris Barlow
Wauwatosa Mayor Kathy Ehley and Bublr Bikes Acting Director James Davies were on hand to assist in the dedication of Wauwatosa's newest business partnership Saturday, Sept. 17 in the Hart's Mills municipal parking lot during the Tosa Farmers Market.
"I think bike share is just a tremendous additional asset for the community," Ehley said. "We are a community that values our outdoor space and our healthy living. We invest in our community and that is something I am very proud of."
To use the bikes, a rider will need a credit card to purchase a single $3 ride, but monthly and yearly passes can also be purchased. Bike station locations and additional information about usage can be found at bublrbikes.com.