Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Big box stores opening before holidays

by John Halverson

August 08, 2013

Obviously, Target needed a road to go to their store, but they also floated the idea of extending it further for future development.

Ryan Cos. Inc., which owns the store, put up $600,000 toward the project, Jordan said.

Target knew, too, that it would be good for business to have traffic coming from both directions.

That dovetailed with discussions the city was having about connecting two sides of the city in a more efficient way.

Right now it's mostly dust and dirt and hard hats.

But by late summer or early fall, the construction zone wedged between Target and Home Depot on Edwards Boulevard will be welcoming new businesses with national reputations.

The largest are T.J. Maxx and Jo-Ann Fabrics. They will occupy the two buildings on 4.45 acres just to the east of Home Depot. T.J.s — the larger of the two — will be the one further to the west.

T.J. Maxx is part of the TJX Companies, which also owns HomeGoods, and 'off-price' retail chains Marshalls. It offers men's, women's and children's apparel and shoes, as well as toys, bath and beauty, accessories and home products. Jo-Ann Fabrics is a specialty retailer of crafts and fabrics. T.J. Maxx and Jo-Ann Fabrics will share a driveway and parking lot.

Abutting the entryway to Target will be a multi-business building housing Great Clips, Kay Jewelers and rue 21 — a specialty discount retailer of young men's and women's apparel. Kay Jewelers has 900 stores nationwide and bills itself as the largest specialty jewelry store in the country. Great Clips has 3,000 locations.

A fourth building next to that one will be occupied by DaVita Dialysis. DaVita Healthcare Partners, Inc. is one of the largest kidney care companies in the United State, according to Wikipedia.

In total, there will be 55,077 square feet of new retail space, according to Core Commercial Inc., which is developing the area. While some of the companies have signs saying they'll open by late summer, Core Commercial says construction should be done by late summer with all tenants planning to open before the holiday season.

It started with Home Depot

These are the latest additions to the Edwards Boulevard area that started with Home Depot about a decade ago.

When the Target store was built a few years later, it became the impetus for the Edwards Boulevard extension, recalls Lake Geneva City Administrator Dennis Jordan.

So Ryan Cos. and the city teamed up to extend the road.

The city amended its TIF plan to help fund the project.

Eventually, $2.9 million in TIF money was set aside.

Of that, $2.7 million was spent - and that includes the expenses from a court case involving property assessments.

"There probably wouldn't be an Edwards Boulevard if it wasn't for Target," said Jordan.

Conversely, the newest stores probably wouldn't have come to Lake Geneva if it wasn't for the existence of Edwards Boulevard, Jordan said.

So what does this all mean in terms of dollars and cents for the city?

Jordan provided some insight.

Based on the assumption that the new developments will be valued at a little short of $3 million for all four buildings, they'll net about $71,000 in total taxes a year, about $14,000 of that for the city.

There are more dividends, according to David Schwartz, president of Innovative Construction Solutions, the project's general contractor.

In a letter provided by Core Development, Schwartz estimated that the construction "could bring $1.2 million pre-benefit wages into the local workforce."

Other developments?

There have been rumors that Buffalo Wild Wings may be moving into Lake Geneva, but it won't be in that area and it won't be anywhere in Lake Geneva for awhile at least.

"We do not have a national chain restaurant included in our development," said Jenny Allen, a commercial real estate assistant for Core Commercial, said

"I haven't heard the Buffalo Wild Wings rumor lately," said Lake Geneva Mayor Jim Connors in an email. "Unfortunately, we don't have an available liquor license. A restaurant with 300 or more seats qualifies for an additional license (beyond our state quota based on year-round population), but this has proven on multiple occasions to be a roadblock.

"We continue to ask our local representatives in Madison for relief that would allow restaurants in tourist destinations such as Lake Geneva additional liquor licenses, but to this point we haven't gained any traction," he said.

Summarizing the impact of the Edwards Boulevard development, The Business Journal quoted Connors as saying:

"The firms have just done their research and figured out that our area is a growing area and we have also quite a seasonal population. We do have very attractive water and sewer rates. We're probably about 95th percentile in both. (The Edwards Boulevard/Bypass) definitely increased the traffic flow. A lot of people use that road now. It's been a very nice improvement for getting around the city and I think that's a major contributing factor in why the other two businesses are looking at developing along in there as well."

And the newest stores aren't necessarily the last that will be coming to the area.

Jordan said there are several areas along Edwards Boulevard that could be developed.

So there could be more dust, dirt, hardhats — and places to shop sometime in our future.