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6-story apartment building wins Shorewood approval

July 08, 2014 7:00 a.m. |

A six-story apartment building proposed for Shorewood has won village zoning approval over opposition from some residents, who say it will be too tall for their neighborhood.
 
The Village Board, after nearly four hours of a public hearing and board discussion, voted 7-0 late Monday night to approve the building, which General Capital Group plans to develop west of Oakland Ave. and south of Olive St.
 
The apartment building, with about 90 units and street-level retail space, will be part of a larger project that includes a two-story Metro Market, to be built north of Kenmore Place, with a four-level parking structure between that upscale supermarket and the apartments. The existing one-story Pick 'n Save supermarket, and two smaller vacant buildings, will be demolished to make way for the new development.
 
General Capital, and village officials who support the project, said the apartment building needs to be six stories to make it financially feasible. While the village's master plan for Oakland Ave. calls for buildings no higher than four stories, those two extra floors bring additional apartments that create more rental income. 
 
Supporters say Shorewood has other buildings that are six stories or higher, including the LightHorse 4041 apartment building, which opened last year west of Oakland Ave. and south of Kenmore Place. They said the continued redevelopment of Oakland Ave. is generating more property tax revenue for the village, and its school district.
 
"We need this financial base to support those schools," resident Robert Dean said.
 
Opponents said LightHorse 4041 and the General Capital development are both too tall for an area that has mainly single-family homes, and apartments buildings no taller than four stories.
 
"This project does not respect my house," said John Townsend, who lives near the development site, and who presented a petition signed by over 600 people opposed to a six-story building.
 
"I think six stories is obscene on that street," resident Valerie Weber said.
 
In response to those concerns, General Capital made changes to its original design, including setbacks to the building's upper two floors, removing balconies from the building's west side that overlooks Bartlett Ave. homes, and reducing the building's height from just over 85 feet to below 74 feet. 
 
The Village Board in June approved a plan to help finance the project, with a $5.5 million grant to pay for the Metro Market's parking structure, and a $6.5 million loan to be repaid by General Capital. Other financing includes the firm's equity cash of $6.5 million, and a $27.2 million bank loan, according to village documents.
 
The grant will be repaid to the village through the development's new property taxes within an estimated 15 years. The development's property taxes then go to the village, its school district and other local governments.
 
Including its administrative costs, the village will borrow $13.9 million. The Metro Market and apartments will create $30.2 million in new property value, according to the village.
 
If the apartments were five stories, the grant would have to be increased to $7.7 million, and the pay back period on the village's funds would increase to 19 years, said Pete Petrie, chairman of the village Community Development Authority.
 
General Capital plans to begin construction this fall on the Metro Market and parking structure, with work beginning next spring on the apartments. The Pick 'n Save will close next April, with the Metro Market opening by September 2015 and the apartments completed by spring 2016.

Graphic: Controversial building gets approval

Germantown's Finger blanks North Shore baseball champ Bay, 2-0

July 07, 2014 9:20 p.m. | In the recent past the Germantown baseball team's pitching staff had been so deep that the Warhawks didn't need the services of Randy Finger.

But time and graduation have taken a toll on the Warhawks' resources and Finger, now in his senior year, was called back to the hill.

And is coach Jeff Wolf and the team ever happy that he did.

Showing command of all his pitches, moving corner to corner and up and down, Finger completely baffled North Shore Conference champion Whitefish Bay on the Blue Dukes' homefield Monday night.

He scattered three hits, worked out of a couple of jams deftly, walked four and struck out an impressive 10, including the last three in a row. He even scored the game's only two runs as the Warhawks stymied the potent Blue Dukes, 2-0.

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