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South Milwaukee — Following the recent reveal of a new downtown development in South Milwaukee, the plan commission has recommended the city's common council approve a six-month planning option agreement requested by developer Vetter Denk Properties LLC.

The developer is requesting the planning option to reserve the land while they invest money into creating more detailed plans.  There is no development agreement in place as of yet for the proposed $6.6 million project at the northeast corner of 11th and Madison avenues.

John Vetter, owner of Vetter Denk along with his partner Kelly Denk, made a presentation at the Sept. 26 plan commission meeting regarding the development, which would include a microbrewery, retail space, an outdoor courtyard, and between 20 and 24 apartments.

The microbrewery has generated some interest by David Ryder, former head brewmaster at MillerCoors, who said he wanted to make the brewery a worthwhile anchor for the development and to "build on the community in South Milwaukee" with the help of residents.

"South Milwaukee can be a fun place," Ryder said.

Vetter said he looked over a dozen potential build sites in South Milwaukee before choosing this one.  This site is the current location of the city's farmer's market, held every Thursday from June through October.  The market would be moved to the newly proposed courtyard, and the microbrewery would be built on the corner where the market is currently held.

"Our love is revitalizing smaller urban neighborhoods," Vetter said.  "The key is to energize and activate the corner where the market is currently held."

Vetter called South Milwaukee a beautiful community and said this development draws it out.

"We wanted to put energy into the core of South Milwaukee," Vetter said.  "We want to heal and revitalize downtown."

The proposed apartments would sprawl across the top of the development and feature an "urban-style loft" look.  Vetter described the apartments as having high ceilings and open, unencumbered spaces.

Mayor Erik Brooks said the next step is to discuss the financial "gap" of the development, which could potentially be filled with tax incremental financing district (TIF) money.  A TIF is created in an area to help spur growth, offering a form of financial assistance to developers through taxes for a set period.

Brooks also said since the potential development was announced there has been some other interest that hadn't been there before.

"That development is opening doors," Brooks said.

Vetter Denk hopes to begin construction in spring 2017.

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