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Industrial development hinges on TIF district

Sept. 2, 2014

A major development is shaping up north of Capitol Drive for the City of Brookfield.

Spectrum Development LLC and Rizzo Development Group LLC are proposing a 320,000 square foot light industrial development on a 26-acre site north of Gumina Road and between Springdale and Barker Roads. The City of Brookfield annexed the property from the Town of Brookfield on July 15.

"It fits into the City of Brookfield's master plan. The vacancy rate in Waukesha County is very low right now and there's a limited supply of sites available for industrial development," Todd Rizzo, principal at Rizzo Development, said. "So what is in short supply in the county is what the city (wants). So the timing is dead on."

Rizzo's partner Chris Leffler of Spectrum Development has owned the property for over 10 years and his desires for development are nothing new.

"We've wanted to develop here for years. It's partly been (waiting for) the economy, and the other part has been the annexation by the city and the availability of sewer and water for the property," Leffler said.

Town of Brookfield Administrator Rick Czopp had no comment in regard to the annexation of the property.

The development hinges on the creation of the city's fourth tax incremental financing district, which Brookfield's Community Development authority endorsed last week.

City of Brookfield Director of Community Development Dan Ertl says that taxes from the new development would generate approximately $17 million in new real estate value. The city would recoup its costs over a 14-year term.

As of now, Ertl says that water and sewer work is the only piece of a timeline that he has knowledge of.

"The only goal is that the city plans to extend sewer and water to that property by July 1, 2015," Ertl said.

The development is projected to create up to 300 new jobs and Rizzo says that the developers have been in contact with potential tenants although he declined to mention names.

Although the City of Brookfield's Community Development authority endorsed tax incremental financing district #4 last month, Ertl notes that there are many more steps in the process before the plan can move forward.

"It would have to go through the Plan Commission, the Common Council, a Public Hearing, and the Joint Review Board," Ertl said.

Joe Tierney, the developers' attorney, says that the creation of the TIF district would be a necessity in order for them to proceed with their plans.

"This site has some challenges. In order for development to occur of this type in this location, there's no other way," Tierney said.

Tierney noted that the developers face issues with the grading of the site, bedrock, and soil challenges.

Specifics of exactly what the development will include are still not set in stone; however, Rizzo says the development will be sizable.

"We've presented some conceptual plans and it looks like (the site) lends itself to one or two buildings. It's possible it could be three. It just depends on where the site ends up," Rizzo said. "It's probably a two-building development in the neighborhood of 250,000 to 350,000 square feet."

Leffler notes that the developers hope to be able to get started as early as October, depending on the approval of the TIF district.

"We're working through the process of the TIF, so once that is completed, hopefully that will give us a better timeframe and we might be able to do some site preparation and have shovels in the ground next spring," Leffler said. "But we're not just going to sign up with the first person who shows interest. We want to bring a quality user to the City of Brookfield who is going to be sustainable and bring good jobs."

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