Port council clears way for city’s largest subdivision

Prairie’s Edge plan calls for 234 homes, business space on south bluff land

FINAL PLANS AND a rezoning approved by the Port Washington Common Council Tuesday pave the way for the development of the Prairie’s Edge subdivision along the city’s south bluff, depicted in this rendering by Kubala Washatko Architects. The amended plan will remove several of the large buildings on the south end of the subdivision and replace them with single-family homes. Work on the development could begin in late spring or summer.
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday paved the way for construction of the city’s largest subdivision on the city’s southeast side, approving a final plat and a change in zoning for a portion of the Prairie’s Edge development.

The zoning change will allow the Milwaukee-based firm Black Cap Halcyon to alter its plans for the southern end of the project. Originally, 40 townhouse condominiums were to be incorporated into four and six-unit buildings, but the new plan calls for a mixture of 20 townhouse condominiums and 16 single-family homes that will face a common area with a fire pit.

“We think this is better,” Tony Polston, founder and principal at Black Cap Halcyon,  said. “I think 40 townhouse condominiums is an awful lot.

“We’re getting a lot of calls for both the townhouses and single-family units, and we think creating more price variations within the development is good.”

Creating a pocket neighborhood with the single-family houses is something that’s desirable, he added.

“Our plan all along has been to create a really socially connected community,” he said.

The move slightly reduces the density of the development, he said, noting it will trim the overall number of housing units by four.

It should not affect the estimated $60 million value of the subdivision significantly, Polston added.

Prairie’s Edge is expected to have a mix of 234 residential units and 40,000 square feet of commercial space while also ensuring public access to the south beach and bluff.

The project is being built on land south of the We Energies power plant. The city received the land from the utility in 2004 as part of an agreement allowing the conversion of the power plant from a coal-fired facility to one fueled by natural gas.  

The development was originally projected to be built in three phases, but Polston said the company now plans to build the first two phases concurrently.

He said he hopes to begin construction this summer.

“The question I get 1,000 times every day is ‘When are you going to break ground?’” Polston said. 

The third phase of the project, which involves the northernmost portion of the property, will follow.

The entire development is expected to be  completed by 2023.

The final plat approved on Tuesday slightly alters the path of a road along the east side of the subdivision, turning it from a relatively straight street into a curved one.

During a public hearing on the rezoning, Linda Nenn, 1859 Parknoll Ln., asked if Polston would be required to provide a walkway along the bluff even if the land currently being given to the city there erodes.

City Attorney Eric Eberhardt said that isn’t being done, saying, “I think we’re all at the mercy of the forces of nature in regard to that.”

But, he noted, the city will always have access to the beach at the foot of the bluff.

The Common Council on Tuesday also had its initial review of a plan to construct a 14-lot subdivision on the south end of the Harbor Campus on the city’s north side — developer Mike Speas plans to buy the lots from Capri Senior Communities and construct 1,400 to 1,600-square-foot houses there.

Capri had originally proposed constructing  smaller multi-family, independent-living buildings for seniors there, but company officials said they ultimately decided that single-family houses made perfect sense for the area and the company.

The council also reviewed a request to create five lots on property previously planned for four homes on North Grant Street and to rezone the so-called “back 40” portion of the NewPort Vista subdivision on the city’s south side to allow 134 apartments and a clubhouse to be built there. 

Final action on these items is expected when the council meets on May 21.


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