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Greenfield Crossing gets fresh restart

Demolition clears way for city's marketing efforts toward redevelopment

Piles of cinder blocks are all that is left following the demolition of the remains of a factory and house on October 5.  The structures at Loomis and 894 had been destroyed by fire earlier in the year.

Piles of cinder blocks are all that is left following the demolition of the remains of a factory and house on October 5. The structures at Loomis and 894 had been destroyed by fire earlier in the year. Photo By Jerry Luterman

Oct. 11, 2011

Greenfield - What is left of a factory and a home badly damaged by fire earlier this year came down last week at Loomis Road and Interstate 894, as the city prepares to again market the properties for redevelopment.

Greenfield had bought the properties as part of the redevelopment project dubbed Greenfield Crossing. Planners would like to see a mix of residential and commercial, possibly including a hotel, go into the site, Richard Sokol, Greenfield director of neighborhood services.

Back on the market

Fire delayed site demolition efforts, but the "for sale" signs should be going up in a week or so, Sokol said.

Before the economy tanked, several hotels were interested in the site, which is appealing to prospective developers because it is the first place west of the Mitchell Interchange to offer full freeway access from every direction, he said.

City officials hope to attract businesses that are fed up with the high cost of doing business in Chicago, but who need convenient freeway access, Sokol said.

"We thought we could recruit a large office user needing to go to and from Chicago," he said.

Sokol also sees a residential component consisting of loft or condo developments.

Putting together a land package

The city bought the working factory that was eventually damaged by fire and the vacant home because the owners wanted to sell, Sokol emphasized. The city is not pursuing any other properties.

His emphasis is tied to the uproar in the summer of 2010, when there was mention of the city possibly taking properties for Greenfield Crossing, possibly through eminent domain.

But the city does plan to buy Milwaukee County land that is part of the current park-and-ride lot and the vacant land south of there, said Chuck Erickson, director of economic development and planning. The county agreed to offer the nearly 18 acres to Greenfield first. The land lies beside the former factory and home tract.

The county land won't be available until 2013. That's because the county is using the land as a staging area for freeway maintenance work, Erickson said.

It's possible, though unlikely, that the factory/home site could be developed separately, he said. Combining the properties for redevelopment meets the city's goals.

"We're looking for larger-scale stuff" to go in there, Erickson said.

The city won't have to wait until 2013 to offer the two sites to developers, he said. It takes so long for large developments to be approved that talks could start anytime, he said.

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