Delavan City Council green-lights Mills Fleet Farm project for former dog track

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Jonah Beleckis
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

DELAVANConstruction of a new Mills Fleet Farm on part of Delavan’s former dog track property will start within weeks thanks to unanimous support from the Delavan City Council.

The council Tuesday first green-lighted a general development plan for the 200-acre property, which used to house the Geneva Lake Kennel Club before NRB Land Development Group bought the land in 2006.

The property, which has been vacant for years, sits at the intersection of Interstate 43 and Highway 50.

The plan enables the "proposed redevelopment of the site with commercial, office, light industrial and mixed residential land uses,” according to the motion approved by the council.

After approving the general plan for the entire property, the council approved the precise implementation plan for Mills to build a new 218,653-square-foot store on about 28 acres, according to plans submitted to the city.

The main building, which will have a parking area with 757 stalls, will mostly be one large room for retail space. Plans also call for a detached convenience store with fuel pumps and a car wash. That part would be 4,941 square feet.

Commercial Horizons is developing the site for Mills.

Commercial Horizons’ Curt Mauer said the $30 million project will add about 175 to 200 new jobs. Mauer did not have wage estimates for those jobs, but he said they will be similar to area retail wages.

The plan was presented to the city only a few months ago and moved quickly toward Tuesday’s vote, Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis said. He thanked all those involved and said it was “amazing” to accomplish everything in such a short time.

Mills wanted a faster timeline after a different store project fell through, Mauer said.

NRB Manager Andrew Teegen has said Mills' project will encourage others to follow with their own developments.

To accommodate all the development, the general plan includes proposals for two new public roads, according to plans submitted to the city.

After a closed session Tuesday, the council also unanimously approved a development agreement for the former dog track property.

Although specific details were not immediately available, City Administrator Denise Pieroni said such an agreement identifies a developer's responsibilities, such as what the developer is required to pay. It also might offer protections to the city if certain obligations are not met, she said.

Officials have said construction could start within weeks. They hope to open the new store next fall.

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