Conceptual plans for a Walmart Neighborhood Market store could be submitted within the next 60 days, said Matt Carran, the director of community development for Menomonee Falls.
The Village Board unanimously Monday approved ordinance changes that will streamline the procedure for the redevelopment of a 12-acre strip mall that has been going downhill since the mid-1990s. The mall is located on the south side of Main Street between Pilgrim Road and Rozanne Drive.
The major change is the ordinance dropped requirements for a dense residential development to be built atop commercial properties.
"If a developer follows the ordinance, they can get the project approved quickly," Carran said.
In 2006, plans for a mixed-used development on the property were adopted. Trustee Michael McDonald, also a member of the Plan Commission, said the high-density residential portion of the plans are not suitable for the area. Carran interjected that economics, not the suitability of the residential plans, were responsible for the lack of movement on the property.
"Mixed-use developments have had a difficult time getting financing," Carran explained after the meeting.
The strip mall has had a difficult time since the mid-1990s, when the Marcus Corp. built a new cinema off Appleton Ave.
"The mall just lost its draw," Carran said, adding that the next blow came with the closing of the Piggly Wiggly at the west end of the mall.
The Gatlin Development Co., which builds Walmarts around the country, is interested in the property. A year or two ago, Walmart began opening smaller grocery only stores in other parts of the country and there are now about 180. If plans for this site go through, this will be the first of these neighborhood groceries in Wisconsin, Carran said.
In February, Gatlin withdrew a rezoning request to build a 115,000-square-foot store at Pilgrim and Lisbon roads. Neighborhood stores are about 40,000-square-feet.
The amended ordinance also allow for the development of several restaurants ranging in size from 6,000 square feet to 22,000 square feet.
In a related development Monday, the Milwaukee Plan Commission recommended approval of a 40,000-square-foot Walmart Neighborhood Market near Wisconsin State Fair Park, according to the Journal Sentinel's Tom Daykin. That project also would be developed by Gatlin.