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Questions Raised Over Hotel Development Plans

Is it a hotel that has a big parking lot, or a big parking lot that also has a hotel?

Is the plan for the corner of College and Howell avenues a big parking lot that also has a hotel? Or is it a hotel that also has a big parking lot?

That was one of the questions raised during the Oak Creek Plan Commission's review of new plans from Syner G Hotel Group, which has proposed a Four Points by Sheraton hotel and a 1,187-space parking lot for Mitchell International Airport travelers.

Earlier this summer, Syner G scaled back its plans by about one-third to help win Oak Creek Common Council approval and keep the city's financial incentives on the table. In particular, the parking lot was downsized from 1,531 spaces and will no longer be covered or abut a residential neighborhood.

But some Plan Commission members feel the parking lot is still the driving force behind the development. Plans also present stormwater and engineering issues, said Plan Commission member and city development engineer Brian Johnston.

Oak Creek officials said those issues will be worked out as more specific plans are reviewed by city departments, the Plan Commission and the Oak Creek Common Council.

Other Plan Commission members argued the hotel is the dominant feature of the proposal. Plans call for a four-story, 108-room Four Points by Sheraton along Howell Avenue.

The development will be a "positive for the city," Alderman Dan Bukiewicz said. Ethel Garrett, who owns property at 6414 S. Howell Ave., near the proposed hotel development, also called the proposal a positive for what is now "unsightly" land.

Another neighbor, Ken Hegerty, said he worried about stormwater runoff issues that already plague the area and whether the hotel and parking lot would make things worse.

The Plan Commission recommended the Common Council adopt the general development plan on a 7-1 vote, with commissioner Pat Correll opposed.

Plans were first approved in May 2011, but financial troubles led to delays in construction. Oak Creek earlier this year threatened to withdraw its investment of $4.5 million, which would come through a tax-incremental financing district, but developers and city officials reached an agreement that scaled back both the plans and Oak Creek's financial commitment.

Syner G eventually hopes to add two more hotels, a banquet facility, two restaurants and commercial/retail space to the area.

Jack September 26, 2012 at 06:51 PM
These guys are idiots for approving a parking lot for an airport that is dying. It's no longer a hub for any airline and won't be again.
BringBackOakCreek09 September 26, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Oak Creek is spending, spending, and spending. news from the city has come to halt and the little that trickles out is common knowledge. Its sad to see what little thought the council is putting into all these projects with little respect to the uniqueness our city retians. all that will drift away, our debt will pile up and oak creek will be another city in southeastern wisconsin that bet everything on development and lost.
Resident of O.C. Paul September 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Oak Creeks uniqueness was that you could be in the city and within a couple minutes be looking at rural landscapes, but with what the city officials are doing, that will soon be a memory. They are all for city growth, nothing wrong with that, but at what cost? Selling out it's uniqueness and ourselves in an attempt to make money...There's more to life than money. If this council had any brains they would be on a track of slow growth or no growth (for the foreseeable future). Development is all about supply and demand, if Oak Creek doesn't have the demand of businesses or people wanting to move to Oak Creek, then development of land for such use should be halted until that demand picks up. The same holds true for apartment and condominium complexes...I'm already seeing too many of them in Oak Creek. Oak Creek does not need to be the Milwaukee of southeastern Milwaukee county, And I'm sure many residents would feel the same.
vocal local 1 September 28, 2012 at 08:02 AM
I also oppose this planned development because it is being funded on tax dollars via TIF and won’t lend any financial support to the city for sixteen years if ever. Oak Creek officials shouldn’t promote this type of economical development that is in conflict with the cities rural conceptual image. If the developer won’t build without financial assistance from the city and state but fully expects to make a profit much sooner than the 16-year public debt commitment, council should deny. Were in a depression, we should slow down debt driven growth and live within our means. What would be ideal development for that high volume traffic corner that wouldn’t impact schools, police and fire? Possibly a hotel or other service industry but not another ugly airport parking lot that is definitely going to generate more storm water run off and the need of another detention/retention pond and will invade the privacy of adjacent private residential properties. Wheres the aldermanic support of residents on this one? He spoke against but voted for the project. First district residents need to put the pressure on their representation for compliance with their wishes or vote him out.

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