Blues Factory deal headed to Port council next week

Amended agreement removes key deadline for controversial development

PORT WASHINGTON ALDERMEN are expected next week to consider an amended developer's agreement for the Blues Factory entertainment complex on the north marina slip parking lot, shown in this rendering.
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Port Washington Common Council is expected to take up an amendment to the developer’s agreement for the Blues Factory entertainment complex when it meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 1.

City Administrator Mark Grams said Wednesday that the item will be on the agenda for the meeting.

“We’re still finalizing everything, but it should be ready to go on Tuesday,” he said.

Aldermen were expected to take up the amendment when they met on April 17, but the agreement was removed from the agenda because the final document wasn’t completed.

The amended agreement will reflect the council’s decision earlier this month to waive the deadline for developer Gertjan van den Broek to begin construction of the proposed Blues Factory, Grams said.

It was also expected to require van den Broek to widen the alley between the Blues Factory and the neighboring shopping center land by at least five feet and clip the southwest corner of his building — measures sought by the shopping center owners when they proposed converting a former grocery store on the north end of their building to condominiums.

The council’s decision was contingent on van den Broek receiving assurances in writing from his mortgage lender that the city will be able to buy back the land for $250,000 — the amount he paid for the property — if the Blues Factory is not developed.

Although the council agreed to the changes on April 4, they won’t be finalized until the amended developer’s agreement is approved by aldermen.

If it isn’t approved, the current agreement would remain in force.

That agreement calls for substantial construction to begin within 180 days after the city completes work to stabilize the sheetwall — a date that officials said hasn’t yet been determined. If construction doesn’t start, the city has 45 days to buy back the property. 

Two aldermen, John Sigwart and Mike Gasper, voted against the proposed changes, saying they believe some deadlines are necessary to protect the city’s interests.

The changes were prompted by the fact the city asked van den Broek to delay work on the Blues Factory last year to try and reach an agreement with the owners of the neighboring shopping center so both projects could proceed. The center owners have since decided not to pursue their project.

Officials had said they would alter the deadlines since their request delayed van den Broek, but they expressed concern about that after learning the city would then lose its ability to repurchase the land if the Blues Factory wasn’t built.


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