Report: Meijer May Anchor Drexel Town Square
According to a BizTimes Milwaukee story, developers are in negotiations with Meijer to open in the Drexel Town Square development.
Updated: 2:15 p.m. Wednesday
Might a big box store make its way to the Drexel Town Square development?
BizTimes Milwaukee is reporting that developers are negotiating with Meijer Inc. to open a 192,000-square-foot store to anchor the planned development on the former Delphi site at Drexel and Howell.
Wispark President Jerry Franke told the newspaper that any talk of potential retail tenants is "premature." Others said a big box store is necessary to provide an anchor to drive traffic to the site as well as attract other retailers.
The report is surprising for a couple of reasons: city officials have been (publicly) cool to the idea of a big box store at Drexel Town Square, and another big box grocery store, Woodman's, is right next door.
As the article notes, a big box store is not shown on the plans for Drexel Town Square presented to the public last May. The plans show smaller, "junior box" stores on the east end of the development.
However, Mid-America Real Estate was hired to market the project to retailers, and a site plan posted online showed a 192,000-square-foot big box store in its plans, according to BizTimes.
That plan has since been scrubbed from the website.
Former Oak Creek Mayor Al Foeckler was livid about the report Wednesday, saying that if it holds true, his tiebreaking vote to move the city hall and library to Drexel Town Square will "go down as the worst decision in the city's history."
"I will be ashamed of the vote I was once proud of," Foeckler said in an e-mail.
At the time of the vote, Foeckler stressed the need for a unique mixed-use development and not one with big box stores. He vowed Wednesday to publicly fight a Meijer store, which would need approval from the Oak Creek Common Council, if it is formally proposed.
"Bait-and-switch comes to mind," Foeckler said.
Mayor Steve Scaffidi said he has not had any contact with Meijer. The Drexel Town Square project will "never be about any one store or one type of development," he said.
"I've never had any contact with a representative from Meijer, and no proposal or term sheet has been presented to the city of Oak Creek or anyone connected to the project," Scaffidi said.
He added: "The concept is to develop a site that is unique to our area, that draws people to our new downtown, and that offers the best experience for our residents, and for people visiting our city. We are willing to talk to any company or investor who has an idea that is consistent with that mission."
The goal of the Drexel Town Square project is to create a new downtown for Oak Creek. The city and Wispark, the development arm of We Energies, envision apartments, a "Main Street" with shops leading to a town square, restaurants, retail and a new city hall and public library.
Michigan-based Meijer, which offers grocery and general merchandise, is planning to expand to the Milwaukee area and earlier this year proposed a store in Franklin.