A vacant parcel on Waukesha's southwest side could soon be home to a new retail development, potentially anchored by a specialty grocer.
That is the likely outcome of a recent transaction on nearly 30 acres at Les Paul Parkway and Saylesville Road, said Jon Thoresen, president and principal of Commercial Property Associates Inc.
Jewel Food Stores Inc. recently sold the land, which is just north of Waukesha West High School and across from St. John Neumann Catholic Church on Highway 59, to Waukesha Parkway LLC.
"I wanted to see what the neighbors want," Thoresen said.
What he envisions and what has come out of these discussions with Perry, Thoresen said, is a new specialty grocer.
While no tenants have been finalized, Thoresen said a specialty grocer could include the likes of a Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Sendik's Food Market or Festival Foods. He said additional restaurants could also be added to the property.
The property is zoned Neighborhood Business District, which includes grocery stores up to 40,000 square feet as well as restaurants.
Perry said residents in his area are yearning for a more high-end shopping experience.
"They want a premium grocer," Perry said. "What I've heard from residents is that they don't want any more discount stores. They're not appealing to them. Waukesha already has a fair share of those."
Perry said he has received feedback from residents on retail options in the city through surveys he conducted last year.
"They're thirsty for convenience and quality in their neighborhood," Perry said. "Brookfield has done a nice job with adding higher-end stores, but we want to see that money stay in Waukesha."
Perry said he wants the end result of this property to be a collaborative effort.
"I want to work together (with the marketing agent) to recruit businesses to service that area to make it an attractive site," Perry said.
Community Development Director Jennifer Andrews said the site, which includes several acres of wetlands, was talked about as a potential tax-incremental financing district last year to help a developer with the cost of some infrastructure. However, she said the city put any TIF talk on hold while the developer did additional studies on the property.
"They have not come back yet to start that process again," said Andrews, adding that no plans have been submitted to the city.
She expects that to happen this spring or summer.
Thoresen said he would like to break ground this year on an anchor store, but added that would "be quite an achievement." Realistically, any construction wouldn't start until 2017, he added.
Thoresen said marketing the property has been a long time coming since there had been some initial complications with the development due to wetland delineation.