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Mequon loaning Bartolotta group $175,000

Restaurateur opening supper club in former Riversite location

July 17, 2012

Mequon - A well-known restaurateur will receive financial assistance as efforts to open in the city get under way.

In a 6-1 vote last week, the Common Council awarded a $175,000 loan to the Bartolotta management firm, which is opening a supper club-style eatery at the site of the former Riversite restaurant, 11120 N. Cedarburg Road.

Bartolotta - doing business locally as BRG 11120 Cedarburg - sought and received a revolving loan with the caveat the funds be used to purchase restaurant equipment at the revamped facility, which is an important linchpin in Mequon's Town Center development.

The city receives funds for the revolving loan program through the state Department of Commerce. Applications are reviewed by the city and Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, or SEWRPC.

About $175,000 left to loan out

Kim Tollefson, director of Mequon's Department of Community Development, said the city had a balance of about $350,000 before the loan disbursement to Bartolotta; about $175,000 remains for loans to future businesses.

The loan program carries a 1.75-percent interest rate over a 10-year term. Successful applicants use the funds to assist with start-up costs.

Alderman Andrew Nerbun said he was looking forward to Bartolotta's entrance into the city.

"The Bartolotta group is going to be a welcome addition to Mequon," Nerbun said. "I want to see the site succeed, so I'm going to vote for this."

Wirth lone dissenter on loan

Alderman John Wirth was the dissenter of the loan request. With few dollars left in the city's account, Wirth said the funds should be allocated to a business with fewer resources and operating capital.

"I'm thrilled that they're coming to Mequon," Wirth said. "But they don't need this loan. They'd like this loan."

Wirth also questioned the sequence of events - announcing the opening of the restaurant and subsequently seeking the loan.

"You don't sign your lease and then get your funding; that's absurd," Wirth said. "We're not a bank."

Wirth also argued the city's guidelines on the revolving loan program should have been more clear - a sentiment several other aldermen were in agreement.

Kathleen Cady Schilling, executive director of the Ozaukee County Economic Development Corporation, said applicants need to adhere to a number of stipulations - job creation being one of the top criteria for inclusion.

Bartolotta management previously indicated they plan to have a workforce of about 60 people at the restaurant.

No firm date has been announced for the new restaurant opening.

At the time of the announcement in mid-May, Bartolotta management indicated plans also are in motion to open a similar supper club-style restaurant in Greendale.

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