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Plan Commission Lays the Framework for Kohl's Headquarters

Commissioners approve the creation of a taxing district to help fund the potential big time development.

Plan Commission Lays the Framework for Kohl's Headquarters

The Menomonee Falls Plan Commission on Tuesday laid the framework for Kohl’s to construct new corporate headquarters in the Woodland Prime office park if company leaders decide to build in the village.

Commissioners approved Tax Incremental District (TID) No. 10 to provide funding for the key development. In a TID, the village pays upfront costs to install improvements on the property, and the investment would be repaid through tax revenues generated by the new development.

With Plan Commission approval, a special Village Board meeting will be held after 14 days and then a Joint Review Board will take a final vote to create TID No. 10.

After that, the work is done from the village’s perspective and it will come down to Kohl’s leaders to decide whether they will locate within the taxing district created by the village.

“We’re going to move forward and complete the TIF district, but then everything else is outside of our control,” said Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald said if all goes well, the village would convene the Joint Review Board before Labor Day to finalize the district.

TID No. 10 includes the Woodland Prime office park and stretches north of Good Hope Road to the east of , and also forms a wedge south of Good Hope Road along Appleton Avenue that includes a residential subdivision.

The taxing district was approved to accommodate two scenarios — either the construction of Kohl’s headquarters, or other commercial development. Kohl’s headquarters would occupy 45 acres on the northwest portion of the taxing district. If Kohl’s doesn’t locate within the district, the parcel would be split into two roughly 20-acre sites for future development.

“One of the reasons we put the two scenarios into the TID was so that we could go ahead with certainty and finish the project plan and move forward,” Fitzgerald said.

Under the Kohl’s scenario, the village would front $23 million for infrastructure improvements on the site, and provide $18 million in grants and incentives for the project. In the second scenario, the village would ante $14 million for infrastructure improvements, and provide $7.5 million in developer grants and incentives.

“We’re sitting here talking about some rather dynamic opportunities for the future of this community,” said Commissioner Michael McDonald. “We are at ground zero for what’s a very vibrant and exciting turnaround in our economy at a statewide level. We’re doing things that very few places in the entire United States are experiencing.”

Residents concerned about future of their homes

A few residents who live in the neighborhood that falls within TID No. 10 south of Good Hope Road expressed concern over the future of their properties. According to the TID No. 10 proposal, there are no costs expected for relocating residents at this time. However, the proposal indicated that relocation costs could be part of future proposals and would be “funded as development occurs.”

“It is difficult for me to say whether or not I support the creation of TID No. 10,” said resident Kathleen Bucher. “I have great emotional attachment to our property, I just want to live in peace and be able to enjoy it.”

However, commissioners eased Bucher’s concerns about being relocated from her home due to incoming development. Although Bucher’s home falls within TID No. 10 her neighborhood is still zoned residential.

“In today’s climate, it is close to impossible to do eminent domain on a residential property,” said Commissioner Chris Rolenc.

McDonald added that it’s important for the Plan Commission to look long term when planning districts like this in the community.

“The purpose of these boundaries is strictly to provide a roadmap for a potential occurrence in the community in the future,” Commissioner McDonald said. “We’re not in the business of taking your house away from you, but in the same token I think it’s prudent for us as a group of planning people here to look at what the future might hold for the entire community including this quadrant.”

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