Mills Fleet Farm project passes Delavan Plan Commission, moves to council

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Jonah Beleckis
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

DELAVAN—A plan to build a Mills Fleet Farm on part of Delavan's former dog track is moving on to the city council.

The project's progress—which began with discussions in July—has moved quickly, and it took another step forward Monday when the city's plan commission gave it a favorable recommendation after a public hearing.

Officials involved with the project said Monday they hope to start the early stages of construction within weeks.

The former dog track, at the intersection of Interstate 43 and Highway 50, has sat mostly dormant for years. NRB Land Development Group bought the property and later an adjoining parcel in 2006.

Andrew Teegen, manager of NRB Land Development Group, said Mills will be the “first heavy-lifter” to develop on the vacant property. More developments are expected to follow after seeing Mills' investment, he said.

The new 218,653-square-foot store will cost more than $30 million, according to a Sept. 11 letter Curt Mauer of Commercial Horizons wrote to the city. Commercial Horizons, the developer for Mills, is not requesting incentives to build on the property.

The project will add about 75 new full-time jobs and 150 part-time jobs, Mauer wrote.

“Our use is utilized by all classes of citizens—young or old, wealthy or of modest means, white collar or blue collar—we have a shopping experience for everyone,” he wrote.

The main building will be dominated by one large room for retail floor space, according to documents filed with the city. The main store will have a parking area of 757 stalls.

Plans also call for a detached convenience store with fuel pumps and a car wash. This part would be 4,941 square feet, according to the documents.

Most of the handful of people who spoke during Monday's public hearing viewed the project positively. Some had specific questions or concerns, but none that made them oppose the project.

The commission forwarded to the city council its recommendations on the "precise implementation plan," which is specifically for Mills, as well as the "general development plan," which concerns future development on the entire 200-acre property.

Mills needs only 28 acres for its development, City Administrator Denise Pieroni has said.

The general development plan, according to documents filed with the city, includes a proposal for two new public roads: a north-south “main road,” which runs south from the Highway 50 entrance of the former dog track, and an east-west “south road,” which links North Shore Drive to Borg Road.

The long-term plan also includes public utility, stormwater and pedestrian improvements.

That plan “has the potential to add significant commercial and mixed-use property tax base to the city,” according to a city memorandum.

Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis said he was excited about the development and thanked representatives of the involved companies for coming to Monday's meeting.

“I think it's going to be a wonderful project,” he said.

The city council will take up the project at its Tuesday, Oct. 17, meeting.

Commercial Horizon's timeline requires that construction start on or before Nov. 1, Mauer wrote to the city.

“With your timely support, we feel confident we can get Mills Fleet Farm open by fall 2018,” he wrote.

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