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Developer pitching luxury downtown Thiensville apartments

Complex with 60 units proposed for former bank site

A rendering of the proposed apartment structure at Green Bay Road and Riverview Drive.

A rendering of the proposed apartment structure at Green Bay Road and Riverview Drive.

July 30, 2013

Thiensville — Minnesota-based developer MSP Real Estate is pitching a 60-unit luxury apartment complex at the former M&I Bank site at Green Bay Road and Riverview Drive.

The developer held an informal informational hearing July 24, and will bring plans before a joint meeting of the Historical Preservation Committee, Plan Commission and Village Board Aug. 6 for the first round of consideration by village officials.

In an email, Village President Van Mobley said village officials will "shoot to give (MSP) a yes or no on the plan they presented, or mutually agree on some modified plan, by the time construction season will begin in earnest in 2014."

In order to accommodate MSP's plan, the village would have to rezone the property, which is currently zoned commercial.

MSP has completed a number of projects in the Milwakee area in recent years, including an assisted living facility in Elm Grove and the controversial lower-income housing which, when contested by New Berlin city officials, landed the city in court over an alleged violation of federal fair housing laws. The 2011 lawsuit between New Berlin, MSP, and the federal Department of Justice eventually compelled New Berlin to allow the construction of 102 affordable units.

In 2009, MSP had presented plans for an assisted living facility at the M&I Bank site, but after meeting with pushback from neighbors, scrapped the idea. The developer purchased the site outright in 2012.

MSP Vice President Jacob Klein said the vacant M&I Bank lot has piqued his interest over the years, especially when he makes the trip to visit his grandmother at the nearby Willowbrook Place senior living facility.

"Every time I go up there I think, 'that would be a really great place to put some apartments,'" Klein said. "Thiensville's got such a great downtown. They've got a lot of great things going on in downtown."

MSP's target demographic consists of empty-nesters and young professionals who want to enroll their children in the Mequon-Thiensville School District but aren't yet ready to purchase a home in Mequon or Thiensville. Such apartments, Klein said, could serve as a transition between renting and owning for those young professionals.

"There haven't been any non-senior apartments built in those markets," Klein said.

If the project gains approval from village officials, MSP is aiming for a construction start date in March or April 2014, weather permitting, with a tentative opening date in late 2014 or 2015, Klein said.

IF YOU GO

What: Joint meeting of Historical Preservation Committee, Plan Commission, and Village Board

When: 7:45 p.m. Aug. 6

Where: Thiensville Village Hall, 250 Elm Street

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