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Blight designation could spur Brown Deer redevelopment project

TIF district could be used to revitalize 51st and Brown Deer

Dec. 10, 2013

Brown Deer — A blight designation could spur the redevelopment of the vacant gas station at 51st Street and Brown Deer Road as well as the next-door KinderCare campus.

The former Citgo gas station has changed hands several times in the last decade including in 2007 becoming the focus of a developer who sought to renovate the property but abandoned the project after falling on hard times. The property has since been bought by the owner of the BP gas station across the street and remained undeveloped.

The Village Board last week approved a resolution designating the gas station a blight. The designation creates a range of options for village officials, who could order the gas station demolished or go so far as to partner with an area developer through a tax incremental financing arrangement to redevelop the site. Typical tax incremental financing arrangements use village funds to kick-start a development and the resulting increase in property taxes repays the village's investment.

"We're still in the development stage, trying to figure out what to do," Village Manager Michael Hall said.

The project area included in the village's blight designation extends to the KinderCare campus just south of the vacant gas station. Hall said the project area needs to encompass both properties in order to interest prospective developers.

"We'd need that whole area to really get someone interested in redeveloping," Hall said.

A representative of the KinderCare real estate division said Tuesday that the company does not have any plans to move at present but is willing to accept proposals from the village.

Hall said a developer has expressed interest in the site but that he cannot yet offer details.

If the negotiations among the various interested parties pan out, Hall said the redevelopment project could come before the Community Development Authority and later Village Board by the second or third quarter of 2014.

"We're working with a bunch of entities right now and we think we're moving ahead pretty well," Hall said.

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