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Oak Creek plans neighborhood with 648 homes, rentals for brownfield site

A rendering showing plans for the Lakeshore Commons project in Oak Creek. (Rendering courtesy of Rinka)

A rendering showing plans for the Lakeshore Commons project in Oak Creek. (Rendering courtesy of Rinka)

Milwaukee developer F Street Group is rolling out a plan to turn a 66-acre brownfield site on Lake Michigan into a residential neighborhood with more than 600 housing units in Oak Creek.

The project, called Lakeshore Commons, will mark the culmination of years of cleanup work at the city’s formerly industrialized lakefront area.

The Milwaukee developer F Street Group is rolling out a plan to turn a 66-acre brownfield site on Lake Michigan into a residential neighborhood with more than 600 housing units in Oak Creek.

The project, called Lakeshore Commons, will mark the culmination of years of cleanup work at the city’s formerly industrialized lakefront area.

Oak Creek Mayor Dan Bukiewicz said F Street Group and the Milwaukee architect Rinka are planning to build 648 housing units — a mix of apartments and single-family homes — over the next decade. Work could begin as soon as mid-2021 on the project’s first phase, a 36-acre site that could have 300 housing units.

Bukiewicz said the cleanup of the industrialized area presented city officials with an opportunity to develop a project not often found in the Great Lakes area. For a model of what they are trying to do, city officials, F Street and Rinka looked to developments in Texas and Florida.

“We didn’t want to turn out another subdivision,” Bukiewicz said. “We wanted to turn out something unique. It really is a diverse project. It incorporates single-family homes, green space and connections to the parkway. It brings together that community.”

F Street Group presented its proposal for the property on Tuesday to Oak Creek’s Plan Commission — an initial step in the project. Bukiewicz said further details — including deadlines, estimated costs and similar matters — will come forward when the city takes up a development agreement with F Street in late January.

The city’s common council has accepted an offer from an F Street affiliate to buy the 36-acre phase-one site for $3.85 million. The deal, however, is still subject to approvals from city planning and zoning officials. The city now owns the land within the project area.
Plans for the development call for an array of housing options, from multi-family apartment units to single-family homes for first-time buyers and empty-nesters. Homes would be priced in the $300,000 range to put them on par with the city’s median home price, Bukiewicz said.

Plans also call for features such as a swimming pool, a clubhouse and basketball courts.

The site sits adjacent to the city’s 65-acre Lake Vista Park, which opened in 2018 and was part of a former industrial area that’s now capped with two-feet-thick concrete.

“Lakeshore Commons will be southeastern Wisconsin’s premier residential development site. This new community will boast amazing views of Lake Vista Park and Lake Michigan,” said Scott Lurie, F Street president. “Our collective vision of amenity-rich living within a self-sustained community makes this development unique and highly desirable.”

City officials have worked over the past several years to reclaim Oak Creek’s formerly industrial lakefront.

After a six-year, $20 million clean-up effort, DuPont, and the Texas-based EPEC Polymers transferred nearly 100 acres to the city. Part of that land is now set aside for the Lakeshore Commons development. Wispark, a We Energies subsidiary, also gave 80 acres to the city in 2012, helping establish Lake Vista Park

Bukiewicz said the housing development will mark a big step forward in the transformation of the city’s lakefront, much as the city found a new use for a former factory as Drexel Town Square.

A population center along the lakefront will also open up other parts of the city, such as parts of Highway 32 and 5th Avenue, to future business development.

“This project will activate the lakefront in a completely different manner,” Bukiewicz said. “We’re really going to change that whole area.”

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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