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Luxury apartment plan gets warm reception

Neighbors suggest 'tweaks' but voice no major opposition

March 6, 2013

For the past 30 years, Walters Wrecking in southwest Brookfield was where buildings went to die. But now a team of developers are close to resuscitating the construction debris landfill site and giving life to Sutter Creek Residences, a 144-unit luxury apartment complex.

The city of Brookfield held a public hearing Tuesday to evaluate the project and hear concerns from nearby residents.

Sutter Creek Residences, which would be located at Barker Road and Greenfield Avenue, has been a work in progress for more than three years, with plans evolving over time. It was initially proposed as a 186-unit development until it was trimmed in 2010.

Three phases proposed

The current plan for a 144-unit complex would span 27 acres and incorporate prairie-style architecture to blend with the natural site contours. The developers - BRP Holdings, Sutter Creek, Parmenter Developments and Ogden Investments - hired Knothe and Bruce Architects after visiting a senior-living facility the firm designed in Madison.

Construction will be completed in three phases, and developers said the project will add about $20 million in property value to the city.

The first two phases include two, three-story structures, totaling 89 units. The units consist of one- and two-bedroom apartments, and would range in cost from $1,140 a month to $1,800.

In addition to residential spaces, a community commons building would connect the structures, offering residents a seasonal pool, a fitness center and concierge services.

The final phase consists of 12 owner-occupied condominiums. Construction would progress west to east from Barker Road, with the third phase closest to the Weston Hills neighborhood.

Mayor Steve Ponto said the original problem with the project was that there was not an economical way for the city to get sewer service to Sutter Creek.

"We entered into an agreement with the town of Brookfield, which has sewer service right across the road," Ponto said. "And (the city of Brookfield) agreed to provide water to one part of the town if it requests it in the future."

Asking for a change

Developers organized informational meetings for Weston Hills residents over the past several weeks to seek public input.

Gary Gilmore, the neighborhood's liaison, owns a home that would share a common lot line with the east side of the proposed Sutter Creek development.

"Right now I'm not seeing any blow-back on it, just some little tweaks," he said. "But I haven't run into anybody that's opposing it."

With the nearby Poplar Creek, residents are worried that Sutter Creek would exacerbate storm water drainage issues. They're also concerned about the site grading and don't want the height of the development to be higher than the properties in the neighborhood.

Residents suggested that developers eliminate the condominiums - or phase three - altogether, and instead, add a fourth story to the two residential structures.

Kevin Thompson, who spoke on behalf of the developers at the public hearing, said he didn't see much of a problem with striking the condominiums, but would have to check with the other developers. Thompson will present a revised plan to the city April 8.

Ponto said the city has seen a spurt of development, even in a sluggish economy.

"I think Sutter Creek is a reflection that Brookfield is a very desirable place to live," he said.

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