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Wisconsin Athletic Club, Froedtert Health Break Ground on ‘Visionary’ Project

A 91,000-square-foot sports rehabilitation center and health club will be completed in fall.

By fall of 2013, the former Stolper Steel site – which is currently a brown field near Pilgrim Road and Roosevelt Drive - will be completely transformed.

On Wednesday, leaders from the Wisconsin Athletic Club, Froedtert Health, Ryan Companies and Menomonee Falls broke ground on a 91,000-square-foot, $14 million sports rehabilitation facility and athletic club. However, on a frigid February afternoon, representatives actually stirred symbolic mulch rather than dig into the frozen earth.

“For the village, this is a big deal,” said Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald. “This was our most blighted property. It went way beyond an eyesore. It was a dismal entrance to Menomonee Falls.”

The groundbreaking was the culmination of over two years of planning, coordinating, and putting countless pieces together. The project falls within a taxing district created by the village in 2008 to redevelop that blighted and deteriorating part of the village. The taxing district is roughly 93 acres and is bound by U.S. Highway 41/45, Pilgrim Road, and Roosevelt Drive.

The village will invest roughly $30 million throughout the life of the taxing district to spur development, and the village will reimburse its upfront costs over 27 years with incremental tax values generated from new construction. The entire taxing district is expected to add some $80 to $120 million in tax value once all development is completed in the district.

The village invested $4.7 million into the district to raze factory and for environmental remediation of the soil, which was contaminated with a metal degreasing solvent used on the site years ago. The village purchased the land for $600,000 last year. The remediation project was completed in fall, and the village expects to begin its first phase of extending Richfield Way in spring.

"It's almost three years since we started with this. I'd have to say it's very important to note that Mr. (Mark) Fitzgerald's vision for what he wanted to occur in Menomonee Falls is a big reason this is here today," said WAC Chief Executive Officer Ray O'Connor. 

The foundations for the first building are in the ground, and crews are ready to receive precast panels and steel. The construction should wrap up in fall. An upscale apartment complex is also planned in the taxing district. 

“It was a very complex deal and we couldn’t be more delighted. This is a very big deal for the community and the village,” Fitzgerald said.

The medical facility on the site will house Froedtert’s sports medicine and orthopedic services for residents in Waukesha and Washington counties. The development is similar to a 14-year-old joint venture by the WAC and Froedtert in Wauwatosa, but on a larger scale.

“I understand firsthand the impact that coordinated care among physicians, trainers, and other providers, has on our patients. This facility will allow us to deliver that,” said Community Memorial Hospital president – and Falls longtime resident Dennis Pollard. “I look forward to seeing the revival this facility will bring to this area.” 

W . Benz February 21, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Fitz is also a newly appointed board member fo MFMH [ Froedtert ] . So all you taxpayers in 27 yrs your taxes will will be reduce and in 30 yrs new TIF's for ?? 30 yrs after Kohls pays back and the Hotel pays it 18 Mill you'll be home free but for some of us we'll be dead. But hey it's only taxpayer monies and King Fitz will still be the on the Job raking in big bucks and slap's on the back from the Cabal's Grand Kids. Yes King Fitz you'll go down as one of the best just like OBama !!!
Judy Ann February 21, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Wow! I think taking a blighted contaminated vacant site and developing it to bring jobs, support our local hospital- which is Community Memorial Froedtert Health, and bring future tax monies is a WIN. This site was not attracting business and required millions to clean up BEFORE it could be built on. Bravo to all parties that made this happen! Cleaning up a site which had toxic waste and replacing it with expanded health services supports our community!
Uncle D February 21, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Hey...these folks are cheating. They're not "Breaking Ground". They're "Breaking Wood Chips"!
Carl Engelking February 21, 2013 at 03:21 PM
The site was covered in ice! Way too cold yesterday to do any groundbreaking, so some ceremonial mulch. I think their shovels would've busted out there yesterday.
Judy Ann February 21, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Greg, I am reacting to the development discussion re: Froedtert. And I love our local hospital and it's efforts to provide expanded services within our community. I understand your point that there is future development which is something you don't support. As a community, I am sure we all hold different opinions based on how they impact our life. For my family's medical needs this expansion is supported. I respect other opinions because we all walk in different shoes and need different things within our community.
Uncle D February 21, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Carl...that 'Breaking Wood Chips' was just tongue-in-cheek! These blogs get so twisted with political wrangling that we need some humor thrown in. Dig it? (Pun intended).Hey...were you able to dig up some info from the MF Village Center to run a spot on Chili Fest. Who won the ice carving etc.etc.?
Carl Engelking February 21, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Let me get on that Uncle D - I wasn't in town to cover the event itself (I know I should be ashamed)
Carl Engelking February 21, 2013 at 09:42 PM
They finished the environmental remediation in fall, but they will have to continually monitor the site for a number of years.
W . Benz February 22, 2013 at 02:31 AM
Sure support the Hospital with our insurance monies , services are not Free and believe me the Staff is not under paid. The WAC is also a private club and the services will also not be free. So the taxpayers paid for Appts , Clubs , bars , coffee shops , Land developers and gorcery stores ,Hotels , all to support services in our community just in case you need them .. So who supports the Taxpayers ??? More Obama spending ---- from Country Club Republicans like Otis and the Cabal.

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