‘A year from now, DTS site will look so different’

Approaching the Drexel Town Square site from any direction, standing out are the tall cranes being used in the construction of several new buildings. “A year from now, the site will look so different,” said Jerry Franke, president – WISPARK LLC.

“A number of things are coming out of the ground and we look to 2016 to be a year of excellent progress,” Franke said. South and west of the new Civic Center, which includes the Oak Creek city hall and public library, several multiple-story buildings will give “verticality to the site,” he said.

Structures for two apartment buildings near City Hall are going up. These include Barrett Lo Visionary’s Emerald Isle apartments, featuring 147 luxury apartments, and WiRED Properties’ 64 luxury apartments along Main Street.

Planning continues to progress for the hotel. Naturally, the ongoing work to complete the infrastructure has pushed back the hotel construction schedule.

Construction of the Froedtert primary and specialty care health center is expected to begin in January, pending Oak Creek plan commission review and approval. The center will be located on the northwest corner of the 85-acre DTS site.

Traffic at the site has increased recently due to the opening of the Civic Center complex. The new, two-story Civic Center comprises 98,500 square feet. The city moved to the new buildings in mid-October. South 6th Street, south of Drexel Avenue, is now open, providing access to the site from the west.

Got a sweet tooth? In September 2015 Gigi’s Cupcakes announced it would open its second location in southeast Wisconsin at DTS. Gigi’s will be a street-level retail tenant in one of the mixed-use buildings directly facing the new town square. Gigi’s was founded in 2008, and is now the largest cupcake franchise with more than 90 locations in 23 states. Gigi’s also can be found on N. Mayfair Road in Wauwatosa.

Site development work is about 14 months behind schedule due to weather challenges during the winters of 2013 and 2014. The shortage of labor which has affected construction throughout the Midwest has been a hampering factor too.

WISPARK LLC, the real estate development subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corporation is the master developer for this site. The property is owned by One West Drexel LLC, which is a public/private partnership of the City and the developer designed to oversee the development of the property. Other entities that are part of the development team include Zilber Property Group, ENVIRON Consulting, GRAEF Engineering, Rinka Chung Architects, KM Construction Management and MidAmerica Real Estate Group.