Plan commission wants more time to review proposed store architecture

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Plans for a Duluth Trading Company store in Waukesha have advanced, but the city's plan commission has also asked a developer to continue to improve the building's architecture.

In that regard, commissioners and city staff said the plan still needs some additional work.

The commission, which reviewed the project Wednesday, Feb. 8, unanimously approved preliminary site and landscaping plans for the proposed 15,500-square-foot store at a location just south of The Home Depot, at 2320 W. Bluemound Road, and across the street from Menards on the city's northeast side.

The right look

But the commission did not vote on architectural plans for the building because commissioners and staff said the proposed design of the building's south- and west-facing elevations required some tweaking. The south side of the building, which will face Bluemound, featured prominently in the discussion because that side is arguably the most visible to Bluemound traffic.

"Staff is looking for a little more architectural interest on that side," said Community Development Specialist Jeff Fortin.

RELATED: Duluth Trading Co., e-retailer, takes a crack at storefront

However, that is not where the store's main entrance will be, according to plans submitted to the city. The entrance itself will be on the building's east-facing facade.

Jay Moore of the Minnesota-based Oppidan Investment Company, which is developing the project, said he thought his team had produced an "excellent building," but added he was willing to work with staff on the architecture provided the design of the core building remained essentially intact.

The right site

"This is the only site (Duluth Trading) wants to be," he said, noting that some Duluth customers have shown a willingness to travel up to 100 miles to visit one of the company's stores.

No time line for when the project would again be discussed by the plan commission was specified, but commissioners urged Moore to submit updated design plans as soon as possible.

Duluth, which is known for its cheeky advertisements, started in 1989 selling canvas tool organizers for construction workers. It now sells rugged casual clothing and work wear as well as accessories and some gadgets.

The company's first brick-and-mortar store opened in Mount Horeb in 2010, and it has experienced significant growth in recent years, becoming a publicly traded company in 2015.

According to the company's website, there are currently 16 Duluth stores operating in nine states.

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