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Bluemound Bowl could become shopping destination in shadow of Trader Joe's

Underwood Crossing developer has option to buy it

Sept. 12, 2012

The developer of the Underwood Crossing retail center - home to Target and a future Trader Joe's - has secured the option to buy the neighboring Bluemound Bowl.

"It could be the best piece of the whole site because it sits right out in front," Ryan Marks, managing director with developer Ryan Companies, said Tuesday.

As the company explores ideas for how to use the property, Marks said, one goal is to find out what it would cost to save the building, which has housed the bowling alley for more than a half century.

"There are some really neat architectural pieces inside the building," he said, pointing to the domed roof that allows an open expanse unbroken by support columns. The bones of that dome are beautiful wooden beams, and he can envision that dome making a spectacular centerpiece for a retail development.

That said, Ryan Companies hasn't committed to any particular idea for the site, yet. Work is just getting under way to develop proposals for its use, cost estimates and drawings, Marks said. If all goes well, the developer hopes to have a plan to show the public by the end of the year.

New places to eat

In the meantime, a proposal for the third building in the Underwood Crossings development is expected to gain final approval from the Common Council on Tuesday. A hair salon, frozen yogurt shop and a "fast casual" restaurant will move into the building once it's built, said Kyle Schott of Ryan Companies.

The Plan Commission recommended a land split and a plan of operation for the 5,300-square-foot building Monday, noting that the proposal fits the original intent for the complex nearly exactly.

"This is the adjacent building to the Trader Joe's parcel," Schott said. "We felt it was important to keep the architecture and building materials similar."

Director of Community Development Dan Ertl noted that the canopies and lighting will be the same as on the Trader Joe's building as well.

The building will feature a parapet on one end, giving the building some height variation and creating a way to identify the anchor tenant.

It also will shield the rooftop mechanical equipment from view, Schott said.

The restaurant and yogurt shop will bookend the salon, and both eateries will have patios with outdoor seating, Ertl said.

"We're glad to get some food users into the development," Schott said. "We think it will be a huge success for the city."

The names of the tenants have not yet been disclosed, pending finalization of the lease agreements.

Other pieces fall in place

Only one more building is expected within the original footprint of the center, and that will be a junior anchor tenant, as yet not named, that will be located next to Target, Marks said.

Trader Joe's is slated to open the first week of November, he said.

Next step

WHAT: vote on proposed third building at Underwood Crossings

WHO:Common Council

WHEN: 7:45 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE:City Hall, 2000 N. Calhoun Road

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