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Germantown edges closer on BW3, small retail building

County Line Road development on Riversbend Country Club property

Feb. 5, 2014

Germantown — Redevelopment plans at the 40-acre Riversbend Country Club property resurfaced Monday — sans the oft-discussed Olive Garden restaurant proposal.

The Village Board voted, 8-1, in favor of granting Menomonee Falls-based developer Continental Properties a revised list of conditions and restrictions for the property, W18034 County Line Road.

Nearly a year ago, Continental representatives came before the board with plans for freestanding Buffalo Wild Wings and Olive Garden restaurants. In May, Darden Restaurants, parent company of Olive Garden, announced it was backing out of its plans for the site as part of a cost-cutting measure.

Steve Wagner, senior vice president of Continental's retail group, said Buffalo Wild Wings remains a pivotal part of the redevelopment plans for the site. In lieu of Olive Garden, Wagner proposed a four-tenant retail building that will be comprised of small stores.

Prior to making a decision, the board held a public hearing and debated the merits of the revised plans. A number of concerns were raised throughout the lengthy discussion, including traffic, the quality of the commercial tenants and the impact on an adjacent residential property.

Coffee shop likely

Details of the 9,150-square-foot retail building were sparse during Monday's discussion, though Wagner said plans call for one tenant spot to feature a drive-through — likely for a coffee shop.

When Olive Garden pulled out of the project nine months ago, Wagner said Continental made efforts to find another sit-down restaurant at the property.

"There is no one more disappointed in this room than myself to have gotten that call from the Olive Garden," Wagner said.

With regard to the four-tenant retail building, Wagner said the company would make every effort of ensuring quality tenants land at the site. He pointed to other nearby developments the company has overseen along County Line Road.

Since 1996, Continental has brought in such retailers as Chili's, Sears Hardware, TJ Maxx and World Market.

"We have a long track record of bringing successful retail tenants to this town," Wagner said.

The Riversbend Country Club is only relinquishing 3.5 acres of its 40-acre parcel. The organization is planning a new golf clubhouse on the northern end of the remaining 37.5 acres of property.

Quality of life concerns

A number of nearby residents expressed concerns about the development and its impact on quality-of-life issues and property values during Monday's public hearing.

"I'm not opposed to development," said Robert Eastman, who lives right next to Riversbend's existing golf course. "But I'm concerned about a sports bar and how it's going to impact my property. Property values are really what's of concern here."

For its part, Continental executives are planning to shoulder the cost of installing an additional turn lane and traffic signal near the site to help address traffic and safety concerns.

Village President Dean Wolter was among the board members who favored the revised plans for the property, even though Olive Garden continued to be absent.

"County Line (Road) is going to grow with or without us," Wolter said. "I don't think this development is going to make traffic increase any faster. It's going to increase on its own."

Wolter admitted he would have liked to see Olive Garden included in the plans, but added, "I believe (Continental executives) are doing what they can."

Trustee Art Zabel was the sole dissenter.

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