Marketing former VK property in WSJ’s Mansion section has sparked interest in $18 million parcel
More than 200 acres of lakefront property on Port Washington’s south side once owned by Brookfield developer Vincent Kuttemperoor and earmarked for a massive, high-end development are being advertised for sale in the Wall Street Journal’s Mansion section.
A recent edition of the paper listed the vacant land on the same page as 11 large homes ranging from a $2.1 million penthouse in Philadelphia to an $11.75 million French estate in Dallas. The former VK land was the only undeveloped parcel listed on the page.
Officials at Waukesha State Bank, which took over control of the property two years ago, said the advertisement — and others like it in high-end publications — have generated a considerable amount of interest in the 206-acre parcel priced at $18 million.
“We’re looking for buyers not only locally but nationally and also internationally,” said Traci Huntemann-Piatt, the bank’s assistant vice president of marketing. “We have had serious interest, and we do continue to get interest on the property.
“This is a very specific-use property. It’s absolutely beautiful, and we’d love to find the right owner to take the property and make it something someone could use.”
That someone could be a developer or someone looking to fashion an estate, Huntemann-Piatt said.
The price is high, she said, but it is a prime piece of land.
“You get a lot for your money,” Huntemann-Piatt said. “It’s an amazing piece of property.”
The property, which is east of Highway C and stretches along the Lake Michigan shore for 1.25 miles, is described as “pristine vacant land” and its location listed as “17 miles north of downtown Milwaukee, two hours from downtown Chicago and adjacent to quaint downtown Port Washington with its Lake Michigan harbor, shops and restaurants.”
An accompanying photo highlights the Lake Michigan shore, with Port Washington in the distance.
“Best of luck to them,” City Administrator Mark Grams said, noting the bank has been marketing the land for quite some time. “They may have gotten calls on it, but how serious are the callers? Usually if they’re serious, the city gets calls asking what can be done with the land, what restrictions there are, what the zoning is.
“Nobody’s called the city about anything.”
The main problem, in Grams’ opinion, is easy to pinpoint.
“It seems to be priced a little high,” he said.
Grams said the bank is looking for one person to purchase the entire parcel — which would make it simpler for the city to handle than if numerous buyers bought smaller portions of the land.
It’s easier to work with one person to ensure the city gets what it needs than to coordinate the plans of numerous developers, he said, especially on a parcel like this one.
“There’s a lot of environmental corridor out there that a developer has to work around,” he said. “With one buyer, you can build on it and use the environmental corridor as green space.”
Mayor Tom Mlada said it would also allow the city a better position from which to negotiate such things as beach access when the property is developed.
“We want to be mindful of providing those things,” he said. “We don’t want to see it developed just for the sake of development. It’s really amazing land with a lot of environmentally sensitive areas that need to be protected. We want to leverage it for the tax base but balance that with the environmental concerns and public interests.
“The bottom line is this is an opportunity for us. This is really our prime real estate for development. It’s highly developable, with potential for something beyond residential uses. We’d like to see some real benefit going forward in terms of tax base.”
The property, portions of which lie in the City of Port Washington and Town of Grafton, made up a significant portion of what was once Kuttemperoor’s dream of a high-end subdivision he called Port Vincent that would have ultimately spanned roughly 800 acres and redefined Port Washington.
Kuttemperoor’s vision for his property was defined after he annexed more than 500 acres from the Town of Grafton in 2000. He had amassed the land beginning in 1988, and presented a plan to build as many as 574 single-family homes and 222 multifamily units, primarily duplex condominiums, as well as 22 acres of commercial shops and a 450-unit resort hotel. There was to be land for a school and public access to the lakefront.
Kuttemperoor estimated the development would be worth $480 million.
The downturn in the real estate market came as Kuttemperoor was building a massive development in Naples, Fla. As that development foundered, Kuttemperoor lost many of his properties to foreclosure.
Waukesha State Bank controls the 206-acre parcel and two other lots on the west side of Highway C.
Image Information: A LARGE SIGN on land once owned by Brookfield developer Vincent Kuttemperoor on the far south side of Port Washington eastof Highway C is not the only way
Waukesha State Bank is advertising the $18 million property. It is also listed in the Wall Street Journal’s Mansion section. Photo by Bill Schanen IV