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Town Proposes $37 Million Financing Plan for The Corners / Von Maur Project

The plan, to be reviewed Tuesday and set for public hearing Sept. 26, calls for the town to borrow $37.18 million for public improvements and a parking structure, and to repay the debt with new tax revenue in 16 years.

The Town of Brookfield would provide a $37 million public financing district to help spur The Corners redevelopment anchored by the state's first Von Maur department store, under a project plan released Thursday.

Public reviews of the plan will begin Tuesday, amid the emergence of an anonymous website, "Follow the Money Brookfield," that purports to oppose the financing and seek petition-signers against it. Emails seeking comment sent to the only contact listed on the website (an email address) were not returned.

A Joint Review Board, comprised of representatives from the town, Waukesha County, Waukesha County Technical College and school district, will review the plan at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall, 645 Janacek Rd.

And a public hearing seeking citizen input will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at Town Hall.

The Corners, proposed by the Marcus Corp., would raze the former Marcus Corp. West Pointe Cinemas and , as well as a strip mall and  south of Blue Mound Road and east of Barker Road. New construction on the 19 acres would include a 140,000-square-foot, two-story Von Maur store, as well as an retail, office and residential apartments. There also would be a large underground parking structure and green town square.

The town's financing would fund infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, as well as construction of a large underground parking structure at the former Menards and Marcus Corp. theater site northeast of the I-94 / Barker Road exit.

The town would borrow funds in the next five years and repay the debt with tax revenue paid by the new development, estimated at full build-out to be worth about $150 million.

The tax incremental district includes lands outside of The Corners, stretching east to Janacek and to lands north of Bluemound Road, south of I-94 and west of Barker. The total value of the entire district is estimated to rise from about $66 million to about $243 milion, the plan says.

That debt would have to be paid within 16 years, under Act 11, a state law passed to give the town the unique power to create such a district only for this specific development. Towns have the ability to create some tax districts, such as for remediation, but not for a project such as The Corners.

Cities and villages, however, have up to 27 years to repay debt in tax financing districts.

The project plan says it will take the full 16 years — or until 2028 — to repay the debt.

quiteconcerned September 13, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Even though Marcus Corp. reported record revenue of $413 million, the company expects the Town of Brookfield—with $4.5 million in revenue—to accept this substantial taxpayer risk. This type of taxpaer risk does lead to complete collapse of municipalities. Know what likely happens if Town of Brookfield goes bankrupt? It's worst nightmare! The City of Brookfield (and its higher taxes) eats the Town's dead carcass. Email these 5 supervisors (below) to let them know Marcus Corp should pay for it. Leave the taxpayer out of it! Supervisor Henderson: kah@idcnet.com Supervisor Shea: dshea2@wi.rr.com Supervisor Maxwell: mpmax43@wi.rr.com Supervisor Schatzman: Jschatzman@wi.rr.com Supervisor Stroebel: pstroebel@mbco.com
quiteconcerned September 13, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I checked out www.followthemoneybrookfield.org and regardless of anonymity of the site, the players remain the same: taxpayers, government and Marcus Corp. The issues are real and relevant. Furthermore... The Business Journal's Stacy Vogel Davis reports, Greg Marcus, president and chief executive officer, saw a 49 percent increase in total compensation to $1.88 million, including pension value and stock options. His base salary rose from $522,000 to $538,000, and his cash bonus total quadrupled from $150,000 to $624,000, according to the proxy. His total salary and bonus payments were $1.16 million. Kudos to him and the 70 percent increase in corporate earnings. But I'm guessing no one in the Town of Brookfield makes that much. Nor can taxpayers there reach into their wallets to pay $5,500 each...the amount each person is responible for in the Town to cover the $38 million expected by Marcus Corp. and the Town of Brookfield Supervisors.
Randy1949 September 13, 2012 at 09:26 PM
I checked it out too, and the language used in some of the points the blog made gave me pause. Whoever wrote it seems to be against the incorporation of the Town as a Village, which is what must happen to avoid the Town lands eventually being absorbed into the Cities of Brookfield and Pewaukee. So, we listen to this anonymous blogster, we don't incorporate, and we will be absorbed eventually regardless. It makes me question the motives of this person spouting gloom and doom if the Town allows the project to go forward.
quiteconcerned September 13, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Randy, I think we can both agree followthemoneybrookfield.org does not have the authority to spend the taxpayer dollars on this development. But Town of Brookfield Supervisors do have the power to give nearly $5,500 out of each residents wallet to Marcus Corp for them to agree to develop The Corners. That's up $500 from the last time officials discussed the project publicly. Without residents showing up or emailing Supervisors to ask questions, voice concerns provide support, whichever, at the upcoming public hearings, the Town Supervisors likely will move ahead on this project with very little public scrutiny. BTW, Marcus Corp and Town Supervisors recommend up to $38 million in taxpayer funds for this project. Divide that number by the approximate 7,000 Town of Brookfield residetns and you end up with nearly $5,500 from each resident in the form of taxes deferred from tech college, school districts and other vital services until taxpayers pay off the debt bonds. And that is not a given.
Randy1949 September 14, 2012 at 12:56 AM
I'm as concerned about the taxpayers taking on the debt and subsidizing business as much as you are. But when someone tries very hard to talk me out of doing something and has shown other views that are against the long-term welfare of the Town (the incorporation, referring to it as 'stealing' land from the Town of Waukesha) it makes me very suspicious. Is someone perhaps hoping that the developers will go elsewhere if the Town doesn't approve the TIF and the project? Would someone else like that project for themselves? I have heard a lot of disparagement of the Town, even from residents who seem to hope for annexation by the City of Brookfield. I have a feeling that the City of Brookfield would be only too happy to have The Corners if that land were part of the City. The anonymous blogger cannot, on the one hand, tell me to fear the bankruptcy that would cause us to be annexed by the City and, on the other, speak so negatively about incorporation as a village.

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