Virtual Walkthrough of Drexel Town Square

This video, shown to the public during a Feb. 11 meeting, provides the best visual to date of what's planned for the Drexel Town Square development.

It's hard to get a better visual for what's planned for the Drexel Town Square development than through this animated video created by Rinka Chung Architecture.

The video, which was shown at the Feb. 11 public meeting on the development, guides viewers through the downtown, town square and new neighborhood planned for the former Delphi site, 7929 S. Howell Ave.

Rinka Chung Architecture is designing the site and helping connect all the pieces together. Plans call for a new city hall and library, about 500 to 600 apartments, restaurants, Oak Creek's first downtown and a Meijer store.

See this Patch story for more on what residents had to say at Monday's meeting.

Mark Schaaf February 14, 2013 at 03:46 AM
I'm not aware of anything else that's been finalized or is closed to being finalized. Developers have reached out to numerous people to gauge interest, however. The group that owns Cafe Hollander and Cafe Benelux, and the Surg Restaurant Group (owns the 8-twelve restaurant in Brookfield among others) are two examples. So those are the type of restaurants being pursued.
JillG February 14, 2013 at 02:00 PM
I think it looks great! I think the land has been vacant long enough and OC should move forward with the plans. I don't know why so many are opposed to the Meijer store being built. Have you ever been to Woodmans on a Saturday or Sunday...it is PACKED...Last night at Target I couldn't even get to the card area for Valentines Day. Most of the Vday candy was gone. This happens during Christmas and Back to School Sales. People are coming to Oak Creek and this will just generate more options for those of us that actually live here.
Resident of O.C. Paul February 14, 2013 at 02:56 PM
"Who is going to collect the tax revenue when all these business move in and hire people and more wealthy people move to Oak Creek?" When all these businesses move in? "IF businesses move in?" Will be a more appropriate and accurate statement, as only Brick 3 Pizza has confirmed bringing a restaurant to the Drexel Town Square. and no other retailers have put a toe into the water to see if it would be to their liking to bring a store into the proposed town square. Again, I'm not being negative about the project; I'm just being realistic, keeping my eyes open as to what is happening, and using common sense. The road is still cloaked in fog, so we need to drive down the road cautiously. There is still a long way to go before this project gets where the city and developers want it to be.
OCTMACHI February 14, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Unless the apartments are high end, I strongly oppose this aspect of the development. This area will turn into a Cudahy very quickly, just like some parts of OC. The idea of the downtown area is excellent and highly welcomed. I think the apartment idea needs help. We don't need any more crime in the area.
Resident of O.C. Paul February 14, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Mark, I find it interesting that you mentioned the Surg Group. Last night I was at Ryan Braun's Graffito, operated by the Surg Group... yeah, a Wednesday night, not always the best night of the week to gage the success of a restaurant, but the place was a ghost town; and you know where Ryan Braun's Graffito is located? Knowing the location, and proximity to downtown Milwaukee, I was expecting the place to be hopping. I don't see Surg bringing a restaurant to Oak Creek and having much success with it. Just my opinion though
Becky Burdette February 14, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Awesome design and very welcoming. Exactly what the OC needs. Glad to see it has a multiple reasons to draw people in. Create jobs and lure people to our great community-it's a win/win!
Mike in OC February 14, 2013 at 03:42 PM
@jack ryan... i was thinking about the parking situation as well.... especially when there are going to be events in the town square there wont be any available spots for either the people attending or for customers of all of these businesses. in looking at the layout i wonder if it makes sense to add a larger lot behind the city hall/library building.... it would be out of site but still provide expanded parking options for the whole complex.
Mike in OC February 14, 2013 at 03:52 PM
i've always been a fan of the project and am warming up to the meijer idea especially if thats the only option available as an anchor. seeing the 3D view of the layout is an interesting way to look at it.... at least from the downtown side of things. it's obvious the apartments will be far enough away from the railroad tracks to have any affect..... especially considering some of OC's highest rental rate properties are currently built even closer to the railroad tracks. regardless, it's nice to see people with opinons voicing their concerns both pro and con... and everyone should be heard on the topic. i couldn't tell from the diagrams but will there be access to the property from forest hill ave?
Mark Schaaf February 14, 2013 at 06:10 PM
They're a pretty successful group overall though, and they don't currently have any restaurants in southern Milwaukee County. So if they "were" to make a move down here, I could see the Drexel Town Square development as a possible location. I actually believe their corporate headquarters are in Oak Creek, if I'm not mistaken.
Resident of O.C. Paul February 14, 2013 at 06:55 PM
That is true Mark. Bonuses would be not having to deal with the parking situation like you do in the 3rd ward, and not having to deal with the traffic to get to it. What would concern some people are the prices; Surg Restaurants are not the affordable fare Oak Creek residents look for, as OC Oldtimer has kind of lead to, in his comment on the "First Known Restaurant at Drexel Town Square Emerges" article. The company I work for has a social club that meets once a month, at a different restaurant each month; and during winter months, we are always looking for nice restaurants, with a private room, that are close by, on the south side of town; so something like this could be an asset.
Mark Schaaf February 14, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Yep, for sure....definitely pros and cons to it. The prices would certainly be one issue and possibly a stumbling block for Surg.
Bill Smith February 14, 2013 at 07:49 PM
What does have to offer for families and kids ? Disney and Mcdonalds have made billions from parents and children. Here are some possible ideas: Hotel with Wisconsin Dells type Waterpark, (see Tundra Lodge ,Green Bay) Museum for kids( like Discovery Center in Rockford,IL or the one in Appleton,Wi) Small Amusement Park( see Little Americka,Marshall,WI or Bay Beach,Green Bay) Rec. Center(I.E. Just a Game Fieldhouse, WI Dells or Rec Plex,Kenosha) Community Splash Pad( see Millenium Park,Chicago or Scuplture Splash Pad, Kenosha) Water Ski Show weekly on the lake\pond,(various WI lakes ) Paddle Boats,Rental Bikes,Kites,etc..(see Frame park,Waukesha or Vet. Park,Milwaukee) Man Made " freaky and free" Sledding Hill( see Suicide Hill, Pulaski Park,Milwaukee) Awesome Playground (see Possibility Playground, Port Washington,Wi, North Beach Playground,Racine, Centennial Playground,Cedarburg,WI) Family Fun Farm( see Apple Holler, Jerry Smith Farm Kenosha or Family Farm, Grafton) a "Stone Fire Or Dave and Busters(see Stone Fire Pizza,New Berlin,Wi) Epic Nature Center(see Bay Beach,Green Bay) Free mini Zoo around the lake\pond(see Oshkosh,Wi) Historic Buildings + Quaint Shops ( see Long Grove,IL or Ceadrburg,Wi) County Fairgrounds to host an old fashioned county fair ( see Old World Wisconsin) Whitewater Rafting or Kayaking on an artifical river ( see East Race Waterway, South Bend, In)
Mark Schaaf February 14, 2013 at 09:29 PM
That's a good question on Forest Hill Ave....the main entrance will be off Drexel, but they have also said that 6th Street will now go through, so it might be possible to access the site from Forest Hill oh 6th Street. But I'm not 100 percent sure. Agree on the railroad tracks also, I don't think it's that big of a deal.
Mike in OC February 14, 2013 at 10:15 PM
@bill smith interesting thoughts... i also had thought about a water park, stone fire, and dave and busters.... would be something people could do and keep coming back. your "suicide hill" comment made me laugh.. i havent thought about pulaski park in years.... was some awesome sledding on that hill for sure. thanks for the memory...
livingintheOC February 14, 2013 at 11:14 PM
Paul, I like your points. Here is where trust needs to come in. They are saying they can't sign people up until they have their anchor(Meijers). I'm liking Costco more though. So do they have a contingency in the Meijers contract that they need to sign up say 50% of the outlot buildings before that deal is 100%? Usually with the other investors they will not build anything until they have 60-80% of the apartments or business space filled prior to breaking ground.
livingintheOC February 14, 2013 at 11:24 PM
I would like to see a Kopps. I find it odd that they haven't built another shop in forever. We actually drive out to 76th all the time especially when relatives come to town. Cafe Hollander and Cafe Benelux are awesome. They are not cheap but they are not crazy expensive. I do occasionally go to both even though I know parking sucks. I think the bigger problem with OC is the type of food. AKA a Sobelman's would do well but I'm not sure about a sushi or a Stir Crazy. With the average household at 75k the hope would be to bring in people from Franklin and up[ from Caledonia. Their only outlets right now are 76th and Racine and I think we can totally trump them with better parking, traffic patterns and options.
livingintheOC February 14, 2013 at 11:25 PM
And the apartments need underground parking. It didn't appear to be that way from the video.
livingintheOC February 14, 2013 at 11:29 PM
I was actually thinking they should be making a new road between woodmans and Meijers that lead to the parking behind city hall/library but I like Forest hill better. Just have it continue on with 4 lanes to the same area.
livingintheOC February 14, 2013 at 11:32 PM
I like the splash pad idea. Make it become a ice skating rink int eh winter. I think we need a INDOOR place for kids to play to cut down on cabin fever. Right now I either go to McDonalds or I need to drive downtown.
Mike in OC February 15, 2013 at 01:18 AM
would be nice if meijers was required to have their wisconsin regional hq in oc as part of the agreement... or make some of these other developers set up their offices in some of the space created... i guess what im getting at is the more people working and living within the project, the more those people will frequent the other businesses with the development...
Andy February 15, 2013 at 02:44 AM
Splash Pads are great draws for families and with restaurants and shopping around it would make for a whole day trip there.. LOVE THAT IDEA...
Packer Fan for Life February 15, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Personally I welcome, no rather, embrace a Meijer coming to the area. Due to work, we lived in Central Illinois. While living there the area built a Meijer in an area of town that probably was not the most affluent neighborhood around. Yet, not only did Meijer thrive, but many different restaurants (more upscale than not) as well as retailers moved in and the whole community benefitted from it. After all that has happened in OC this past year (shooting etc), in my mind it would be great to have something like this building project to give people a positive reason for coming to OC. People talk about wanting to draw visitors (with money) into the area to help boost the OC economy. Let me ask you, what does OC currently have which will do that? If I lived in Franklin or Milwaukee or Caledonia, what would draw me here which my town/city does not have already? Why would someone from Caledonia/Franklin etc drive to OC to shop and eat at, which they wouldn't drive just a little farther to get on 76th street or even downtown Milwaukee? Sure, we have a Woodman's here but if you have ever shopped there with 2 kids two and younger, trying to get in and out, it is not a pleasant experience. In my mind, build it. Bring people here to shop. Draw "outsiders" in to spend their money in the OC.
vocal local 1 February 19, 2013 at 08:55 AM
Drexel Square Development is a BAD idea. In our unstable economy the city should hold not develop. I just lifted the following off the internet: "Even Wal-Mart is running into problems. A recent internal Wal-Mart memo that was leaked to Bloomberg described February sales as a "total disaster". So why is this happening? Why are major retail chains all over America collapsing? Is the "retail apocalypse" upon us? Well, the truth is that this is just another sign that the U.S. economy is falling apart right in front of our eyes. Incomes are declining, taxes are going up, government dependence is at an all-time high, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the percentage of the U.S. labor force that is employed has been steadily falling since 2006. The top 10% of all income earners in the U.S. are still doing very well, but most U.S. consumers are either flat broke or are drowning in debt. The large disposable incomes that the big retail chains have depended upon in the past simply are not there anymore. So retail chains all over the United States are now closing up unprofitable stores. This is especially true in low income areas." The majority of people posting are not thinking individuals. They are not thinking what failure of the project is going to do to the city and their property tax base. Dreamers that are not paying attention to the entire picture who are allowing the elect to acquire huge debt while acting like a developer. NO DEVELOPMENT IS BEST.
MBF February 20, 2013 at 05:02 AM
A recent economic trend shows that small cities are growing stronger than most large cities. The keys may lie in many mundane factors that are often too prosaic for urban theorists and developers. Small cities offer things such as strong community institutions like churches and shorter commutes than can be had in New York, L.A., Boston or the Bay Area (except for those willing to pay sky-high prices to live in a box near downtown). Young families might be attracted to better schools in some areas — notably the Great Plains — and the access to natural amenities common in many of these smaller communities. Furthermore, what fuels economic growth for the stronger small cities are both the availability of skilled labor and conditions necessary to support small businesses, such as safety and well functioning infrastructure (legal, logistics, and banking). All of these are readily available and in excess supply right here in Oak Creek.
MBF February 20, 2013 at 05:08 AM
Bringing an anchor store will not guarantee traffic if that alone is a measure of success; let alone a discount anchor store. Take for instance Bloomingdales, which has never done well at the Mall of America, where junior anchors simply do much better. In the old days, mall economics were so simple: Plunk down two big department stores as anchors and sandwich smaller shops in between. Open doors. But the past 20 years, the draw of the major department store has begun to erode, with many sold or shuttered as aging malls struggled to modernize. Remember Dayton's? Donaldson's? Powers? But no need to go as far, just look at Southridge Mall where the pretzel place Auntie Ann's has outlived several anchors. I just want to encourage all citizens to contemplate long-term community development as the one and only goal, then all else follows. We have good examples here: Greendale and Cedarburg. In the old days, mall economics were simple: Plunk down big department stores as anchors and sandwich smaller shops in between. Open doors. But the past 20 years show us otherwise. Remember Dayton's? Donaldson's? Powers? Voice your pride in your community and do not rush into a decision. This proposal, clearly, does not have the full support of the majority. Should we vote to find out?
crazycatladyofcaledonia February 20, 2013 at 03:04 PM
I kind of agree with MBF. Why not have a Greendale type downtown area? Besides, there is already a Woodman's and a Pick N Save, why bring in another grocery store? I live in Caledonia and I already shop in Oak Creek all along Howell Avenue. There are already many places to shop and eat - Target, Kohl's, TJ Maxx, Culvers, Lotus, Panera, Buffalo Wild Wings and multiple fast food. There are many other services as well - spa, hair salons, banks, shoes, phones, dry cleaners, post office, hardware store, paint store, office supply store, pet store, auto supply store and more. Don't make the existing stores fight for their lives for some new trendy place that will go out of business and leave an ghost town center.
Sarah February 23, 2013 at 10:43 PM
I love the Meijer store. I shopped there when living in Lafayette, IN. But I think the project would be better served by Costco. We have Woodmans for groceries and Target and Kohls for the other items Meijer carries. The only thing missing is the garden center. Is our local economy able to afford a new city hall and library? I can't afford to have my taxes go up with my costs constantly leaping up. The price of gas, utilities, health insurance and durable goods have sky rocketed in a very short period of time. The federal government can't seem to stop spending and the more in debt we go the less our money is worth. Sorry...maybe I still live in the 60's and early 70's when my money would last. I hadn't gotten a raise at work for 2 1/2 years and just recently got $0.54 cent raise. And I'm better off than many people. I think this project should be tabled and we shouldn't build a new city hall and library. South Milwaukee, St. Francis and Cudahy have had the same city hall for as many years, if not more. St. Francis's library has to be 20+ years old and Cudahy 10+ years old. The South Milwaukee library is older than that and they still seems to function.
Resident of O.C. Paul February 25, 2013 at 02:53 PM
My parents live in St. Francis, and St. Francis just ran it through the city council to build a new city hall. Again, no referendum, and the people have no say in the decision to build a new city hall. I'm tired of government thinking that they can do as they please. I don't know where they get off, thinking the people have no say in government, or in what gets done. I pay taxes, and that money pays their salaries... WE, the TAXPAYERS pay their salaries, which makes us their BOSS, and they should be LISTENING to US, and doing what we want them to do.
Coastie Mom March 14, 2013 at 02:41 PM
I totally agree with a splash pad, I live about a 1/2 miles from where this would be and would love to walk my kids to the pad, play get some dinner/ice cream and walk home. Plus a splash pad is a bit more sanitary than a public pool...
wiplayer May 14, 2013 at 08:41 PM
I think it's important to look at the financial stability of any large business anchored in DTS. IF that anchor were to fold, that's a very big hole to fill plus the negative impact it would have on smaller retailers. I really think that it could be and should be filled with smaller business - whether they be chains (like Olive Garden for example) or local businesses. I think there is a need to look at those possibilities and discuss the impact, either way.


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