Shorewood approves $8.5 bond issue for LightHorse development

Published on: 11/22/2011

Shorewood - An $8.5 million bond issue for the LightHorse 4041 mixed-use retail and apartment development was approved by the Village Board on Monday night, capping a two-year approval process.

Groundbreaking for the $35 million development on the north end of the village is expected just after the first of the year, said Richard Lincoln, a senior vice president with the Mandel Group, which is developing the project along with RE Enterprises.

The new building will be west of North Oakland Avenue and south of East Kenmore Place, on the parking lot for Nehring's Sendik's grocery store. The new building will relocate Walgreens from its current location across Kenmore Place and have 84 luxury apartments on the upper floors. The Walgreens is expected to be completed in January 2013, and the apartments completed by August 2013.

The project will include two parking decks, one under the apartments and the other to be built just west of Sendik's. They will provide spaces for the apartment residents and residents of a nearby apartment building operated by Katz Properties.

Of the $8.5 million in bond proceeds, $3.6 million will be applied to Mandel Group as a loan, with $4.1 million earmarked as a grant to help finance the project. Another $750,000 will go toward the cost of the bond issue as well as covering capitalized interest.

The loan will be repaid by the developers through the project's rental income. The village's debt from the grant will be repaid over an estimated 19 years through a tax-incremental financing district, according to a study by the village's consulting firm, Ehlers & Associates.

Federal Midwest Area Disaster Relief bonds will be sold beginning on Jan. 12. The bonds will be exempt from state and federal taxes.

The name for the project derives from a cavalry unit that was known as the Lighthorse Brigade, Lincoln said. The number 4041 is derived from the street address.

Sendik's gets grant, loan

In another move related to the LightHorse development, the Village Board approved a $350,000 grant and business incentive loan to Sendik's. The $200,000 grant and $150,000 loan will pay for a new floor, mechanical systems, furnishings and other upgrades at Sendik's, 4027 N. Oakland Ave. The work is expected to begin by mid-January and be completed by spring.

The goal is to have the work done by the time the supermarket's parking lot is closed to accommodate the LightHorse development.

The village will recoup its $200,000 of the grant through taxes generated through the TIF. Sendik's will pay back the $150,000 loan over 10 years at a 4.5 percent interest rate, said Pete Petrie, chairman of the Community Development Authority.

A village resident who spoke at the meeting objected to extending the loan to Sendik's owners John and Anne Nehring.

'The Republicans in this state have shown that they don't want to pay taxes for schools and for things like Badger Care,' Davida Amenta said. 'I left my kids at home tonight to come here because I thought this was important enough to state my objection. The Nehrings have their hand out, and I object to that.'

Anne Nehring countered that $200,000 of the loan goes for building improvements, which will stay with the building. The Nehrings rent the space for Sendik's. The loan is contingent on the LightHorse development going forward.

Constant investment needed

An independent analysis by the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission determined that there would ultimately be a 2-to-1 payback in property taxes in making the $350,000 loan, Petrie said.

Trustee Michael Maher said the village needs to recognize the progress that has been made in the central business district, recalling the era of abandoned gas stations.

'I think this moves the entire village forward,' Maher said. 'It's a step-by-step process. There's a business district now that you can walk down. It takes an effort by the community to keep this district active.'