Oak Creek used the Drexel Interchange groundbreaking Friday to show off refined plans for the Delphi redevelopment project and announce a major grant to pay for concrete removal at the site.
The project has a new name: Drexel Town Square. Plans are along the same lines as those presented in November -- they create a new "downtown" for Oak Creek and call for a mix of residential, retail, and civic uses.
The proposal unveiled Friday essentially divides the 85 acres into three areas: a residential component on the west, a town square in the middle and larger retail close to Howell Avenue.
The town square will feature the new library and city hall and an area for public activities -- one possibility that has been floated is an ice rink. The square could also feature some small shops or kiosks, as well as some retail and restaurants with apartments on top along a "walkable Main Street."
"I think that's going to be the big thing for our city that residents really care about – being able to go out and enjoy a public area," Mayor Steve Scaffidi said.
The residential part will likely be a mix of condominiums and apartments similar in style to Milwaukee's Third Ward. The eastern portion, meanwhile, will be home to larger retail and possibly a few more restaurants.
The plans are evolving as officials continue talking with prospective companies. Officials from the city and Wispark, the developer and owner of the Delphi site, will continue recruitment efforts at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas later this month.
"Early interest from developers and businesses is strong," Scaffidi said. "That's an indication to me that it's going to move pretty quick. It could be a pretty quick changeover from what is just an empty lot to an exciting place.
"If it's not unique, we haven't done our job. It should be a unique place that people really want to go to."
While discussions with businesses continue, plans for the new library and city hall are moving forward. Those buildings, paid for with money the city gets from hosting We Energies' power plant, could be the first constructed at the former Delphi site. City officials hope to take occupancy by the end of 2014.
The city also announced it has received a $1.15 million grant to remove the concrete at the site. Officials said it will greatly reduce clean-up costs and aid in redevelopment.
It's the largest grant the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has ever awarded, Scaffidi said.
"They recognize how big this interchange and development sites are in the area of job creation," Scaffidi said.