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Town of Brookfield funding for Corners project goes to public hearing

Jan. 8, 2014

Town of Brookfield residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on the town's funding contribution to the Corners development at a public hearing Jan. 29.

According to the project plan submitted to the town's Community Development Authority on Tuesday, the town would pay $34.3 million up front by issuing bonds to fund public improvements for the open-air shopping development planned by Marcus Corp. for Interstate 94 and Bluemound Road. The debt will be repaid with taxes collected on the added value as the project develops.

The city could pay an additional $12.08 million for improvements only if it receives more tax value from the project than projected.

To move forward, this public funding plan must be approved by the CDA after the public hearing, the Town Board on Feb. 18 and the Joint Review Board 10 to 30 days after that. Bonds could be issued as early as June.

In order to approve its funding, the town must find that the project would not be able to move forward without its contribution — or at least not as quickly as it would like it to. The idea is that by aiding the development, the town will make back more money in tax revenue than it is paying up front.

"This will certainly stand as a beacon for not just the town, but the region," Mike Harrigan, the town's financial advisor, said.

The agreement between the town and Marcus involves creating a tax-incremental financing district that covers the Corners and surrounding plots of land where the town expects the Corners will spur further development. The town would continue collecting taxes on the current value of the property, but the increased tax revenue would go into a fund that the town would use to pay down its debt from issuing bonds for its up-front contribution. When the debt is paid, in an estimated 20 years, the town and other taxing entities would receive the full amount of taxes for the general tax roll.

Much of the town's funding would go toward a parking structure, which would be one level that sits under the nine buildings of the Corners. Other funding would go toward a bridge over Poplar Creek and other public improvements.

Katie Falvey, director of real estate for Marcus, said the CDA's scheduling of the public hearing on the plan is an important signal to the company that the project is moving forward in time for a 2015 opening. But she wouldn't say when the company plans to start demolition on the property, which includes the former Menards and Marcus West Point Cinema, except that it would be "soon."

"There are a number of boxes we have to check before we start that," Falvey said. "We're just so happy to be at this point."

Falvey said the announcement of a development agreement with the town in December helped bring the project national attention, and a "whole new slate of interested tenants," though she wouldn't name names. She did mention a specialty grocer is interested.

Marcus has already announced Von Maur as an anchor and several other stores that have signed on: Arhaus Furniture, Brio Tuscan Grille, Café Benelux, Chico's, Colectivo Coffee, Crave Restaurant, Grimaldi's Pizza, Hot Mama, Kilwins and White House Black Market.

Falvey said there would be at least 30 commercial tenants involved. The development plan also includes 150 luxury apartments, with an average of 1,000 square feet each.

Next Step

What: Public hearing before Community Development Authority

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 29

Where: Brookfield Town Hall, 645 N. Janacek Road

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