Balky market proved too tough for Highland Ridge developer; new project would be worth $15 million
After years of vacant space on promising land, the residential phase of the Highland Ridge project is coming together with a brand new project.
Oak Street No. 1, the firm that was overseeing the Highland Ridge project, has agreed to sell the property to Village Pointe Commons LLC, which will construct a $15 million, 172-unit senior living facility.
“The village has determined that the sale and development of the property to Village Pointe Commons, as proposed, will be in the best interest of Grafton and its residents,” the agreement with Oak Street No. 1 states.
Oak Street owners cited a sluggish housing market for the delay in developing the land on the site of the former Manchester Mall property in the village’s south commercial district. The plan originally called for 65 townhouses and 71 condominiums in a 17-building complex on 12 acres.
A shopping center, anchored by a 61,000-square-foot Pick ’n Save grocery store, was completed in 2009.
Village Administrator Darrell Hofland said the new developer is a “well-recognized southeastern Wisconsin senior housing developer.”
Village Pointe Commons must submit site plans for Phase I of the project to the village and apply for a building permit by April 1, 2015, and must pay permit and impact fees by April 30, 2015.
Additionally, Oak Street No. 1 will pay the village $333,764 by Dec. 1, 2014, the shortfall payment it owes from its original development agreement, Hofland said.
Village officials are in talks with Village Pointe Commons to reach a development agreement like it had with Oak Street No. 1, Hofland said.
The village will terminate its agreement with Oak Street No. 1 upon proof that Village Pointe Commons is proceeding with its plans, Hofland said.
If the village does not obtain building permits from the new developer by April 30, 2015, the agreement is no longer valid.
“Both the Village Board and CDA (Community Development Authority) are excited with the conceptual plans that have been submitted for consideration,” Hofland said. “There are many steps involved in reviewing (the plans) before the project can be approved.”
In 2012, the village rejected Oak Street No. 1’s attempt to sell nine of the 12 acres to MSP Development Co. as part of a plan calling for 192 multifamily units south of the Pick ’n Save.
Included in that plan were 72 apartment units in three buildings, along with a 120-unit senior campus building that would have some tax-credit-subsidized rent units.
The plan was dropped after the CDA and Village Board objected to the housing density and building layouts.
At the time, Hofland said the proposal signaled a renewed development effort.
The basic requirements of the original agreement with Oak Street No. 1 were approved in May 2008 and revised in January 2011. The agreement called for completion of commercial and residential development having a total property value of $38.6 million by Jan. 1, 2013, Hofland said.
With only the commercial phase, valued at $10.7 million, completed, the project remains $28 million behind schedule.
Now, Hofland said the village will work with Village Pointe Commons to finalize a development agreement that will be submitted to the Plan Commission for discussion in May or June.
Both the CDA and Village Board unanimously approved the agreements without discussion on Monday.