CITY OF BROOKFIELD - No worries.
That's the outlook that city of Brookfield mayor Steve Ponto still has without hesitation despite the Hilton Garden Inn pulling out of plans to join The Corridor.
Madison-based North Central Group announced last month that it would no longer be interested in following through on the project, but Ponto and developer Irgens agree that the future of the project remains strong.
"I think there are a number of other things going on that are very positive," Ponto said. "I think that what has happened there is very heartening and I'm not concerned."
The Hilton Garden Inn had been discussed as a potential partner with a city-owned conference center; however, the latter portion was found to not be viable for the site.
Ponto pointed out the success of Wisconsin's first Portillo's in addition to a pair of other tenants set to join the development this year.
"I'm very happy that they got things worked out with Associated Bank and I'm happy that (Charles Schwab & Co.) is there," Ponto said.
Irgens still has empty space to fill in the northern retail portion of The Corridor, which rests along Bluemound Road and separates the state highway from the middle hospitality and mixed-use portion where the Hilton Garden Inn had been proposed.
"I expect that there will be more good stuff coming along the way," Ponto said.
Irgens CEO Mark Irgens reaffirmed the developer's commitment to bringing top-tier tenants to its 66-acre project.
"We are entertaining ideas received from multiple other hotel developers, in addition to other development opportunities; interest is strong," Irgens said.
In particular, Ponto pointed out plans announced in January by ProHealth Care to move its Brookfield clinic to a brand new 50,000-square-foot building in the medical and mixed-use section.
"I'm very impressed that ProHealth is building this new, beautiful clinic," Ponto said.
The company plans to break ground on its new home this spring with the goal of opening in late spring or early summer of 2018.
In 2015 the city of Brookfield and a joint review board approved a tax incremental financing district granting up to $7.42 million in financial aid to Irgens for The Corridor. The city's total costs of up to $11.25 million including financing are to be recouped over a 15-year term by new property taxes generated by development.
City of Brookfield director of community development Dan Ertl is expecting an update in the near future from Irgens regarding how much new tax increment and how many new jobs have been created thus far.
"I'm awaiting a comparative analysis between the projection of tax increment and the actual tax increment," Ertl said. "Over the life of a 15-year term tax incremental district you're going to have ebbs and flows."
City officials pointed out that the space made available for private development by the lack of a publicly-owned conference center at The Corridor will in turn generate extra taxes that were not originally counted upon.
"The benefit of not having the conference center there is that whatever will go there will be taxable," Ponto said.
When Irgens first presented plans for The Corridor to the city of Brookfield plan commission in the summer of 2014, the majority of the committee sent the plans back to the drawing board citing a desire for the development to be of special quality. Ponto, who chairs the plan commission, has no doubts that that vision will still be achieved.
"I think things are going along well. It may not be exactly the way we anticipated, but there are a lot of other pluses," Ponto said. "I'm very optimistic about The Corridor. I think it will be the jewel that we anticipated."