Search For Delphi Tenants Already Under Way

Talks between developer and potential businesses ongoing as Common Council mulls city hall and library location.

As I , the Oak Creek Common Council is undecided about whether to incorporate the and/or in the Delphi redevelopment project, and will probably remain that way as the calendar turns to 2012.

But the business development aspect of the project appears to be in full swing.

City officials say that Wispark, the property's developer and owner, is actively selling potential tenants on the idea of locating to Oak Creek on the 85-acre former Delphi site, 7929 S. Howell Ave.

The names of prospective businesses are being kept confidential, City Attorney Larry Haskin said. Wispark is talking to some tenants who may be interested in a , and others who would be interested in a big-box type development, Haskin said.

Much of the site's future depends on the council's decision on whether to keep the city hall and library where they are, at the corner of Puetz and Howell, or move them to Delphi. Thus, officials are hoping they decide soon so that developers have more specifics to bring to potential tenants.

A delay would be frustrating, especially considering Wispark has invested $6 million and the city of Oak Creek $2 million, Haskin said.

"Having been involved with a number of meetings with Wispark, I can tell you that they are ... waiting for this decision," Haskin said Tuesday night. "They want to move forward with the development there in whatever direction is appropriate given the council's decision."

Council members, for their part, have said they want to take their time and get all the information they possibly can before voting.

"It's a huge decision," Alderman Dan Bukiewicz . "And we should make it right ... This could be a decision we can't go back and correct."

City Administrator Gerald Peterson that the hope is to have key tenants locked in by May, when local officials head to the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas. With core businesses identified and signed on, they will try to lock up other tenants at the convention.

Peterson and Haskin both said that the Delphi site has already drawn interest. In a panel sponsored by BizTimes Milwaukee, commercial real estate experts named Delphi as one of the top redevelopment areas in southeastern Wisconsin.

"A number of commercial and other interests have expressed significant interest in the site," Peterson said.

It's important to note that business development is a big part of the plans for Delphi no matter what happens with the city hall and library. I wanted to point that out as that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle a bit in some of the discussion on Patch.

Now, whether Wispark will be successful given the economic climate is a whole other question. With talks held privately, it's impossible to gauge the true level of interest or what companies might want to come to Oak Creek.

But city officials seem legitimately upbeat about the potential there, so I see no reason to be anything but optimistic as well.

Need to get caught up on what's happening with the Delphi redevelopment project? Check out Oak Creek Patch's Delphi Redevelopment Page, which features an archive of stories about the project.


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