Insurance firm’s plan for Port lakefront property gets mixed reaction but officials agree to exclusive negotiations
Port Washington aldermen agreed last week to negotiate exclusively with Ansay Development, which wants to buy 44 acres of undeveloped, city-owned land just south of the We Energies power plant to create a corporate headquarters, training center and boutique hotel.
While both the Common Council and Plan Commission also unanimously approved a conceptual site plan for the property, which is off Wisconsin Street on the city’s far south side, there was some hesitation by officials who questioned whether this is the best use for the land.
Although the city has long earmarked that parcel for residential uses, the plan approved last week calls for a long, rectangular building housing the corporate headquarters and a training center to be built parallel to the bluff. An outdoor venue for meetings would be built on the north side of the building.The development would be phased, with the headquarters built first, followed sometime later by the training center and still later by the outdoor facility.
The hotel, which could also have a residential component, would be just north of this building.
A parking lot, trails and green space would also be incorporated into the site, according to the plan.
However, officials stressed they did not want the final design for the development to resemble the initial site plan.
“We need help from the council to ensure we never see this plan again,” Plan Commission member Bud Sova said.
Instead, officials said, they want to see a more dense, mixed-use development.
“No one thing, in my opinion, should dominate the site,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven, a member of the Plan Commission, said.