Trader Joe’s May Be Coming – But Changes Sought

With talk and plans for a Trader Joe’s in full swing, developers are seeking some changes to previously approved complex plans.

Shoppers might be excited that , but first, the city has to approve it — and some changes sought to accomodate it.

Ryan Cos. is asking for changes to the approved development plan for the Underwood Crossing shopping complex, where a Target is under construction at 12821 W. Blue Mound Rd. The city Plan Commission recommended Monday that a public hearing be held on these proposed changes:


Trader Joe's is asking to be added to the approved complex sign that already is full with Underwood Crossing, Target and a yet-unannounced junior anchor store.

“Trader Joe’s loves signs,” said Tony Barranco, retail development director for Ryan Cos.

The original 30-foot sign would stay the same, but proportions of those three signs would change. The Target sign size would stay the same. Below Target would sit Trader Joe's and underneath that would be the sign for a yet-to-be-named junior anchor, a soft goods retailer.

Even though the sign change would break the city’s standards, the council can “approve modifications to sign requirements if certain community goals or benefits are being achieved,” a staff report says.

The Plan Commission said the perceived benefit would be that all the stores could open at the same time and would satisfy an actual grand opening of the complex.

Light pollution

The city allows light poles to have a maximum height of 20 feet. The developer asked the Plan Commission to make an exception to allow Trader Joe’s to erect 25-foot poles.

That would allow the company to install nearly 20 fewer light poles, saving about $20,000. 

Barranco said if the pole height limit was 20 feet, the parking lot for that site would have significantly more light than the Brookfield Square mall parking lot.

Commissioners spoke in favor of the developer using the projected light savings on landscaping for the surrounding subdivisions.

Columbia Gardens Concerns

Residents of Columbia Gardens, the neighborhood west of the complex, has asked for additional plantings on the Columbia Boulevard berm to reduce the sight of the development and noise and light pollution. 

The neighborhood also asked the developers to remove invasive plants such as buckthorn in that area.

Ryan Cos. and Target have no obligations to do so, the staff report says.

Developers plan to plant evergreens along the berm that are projected to eventually reach 10 feet, according to Barranco.

Larger junior anchor store

Ryan Cos. also is seeking to enlarge the approved size of the junior anchor to be attached to Target by 5,950 square feet, from 18,000 square feet to nearly 24,000.

That would be a 3.4 percent increase in total shopping center square footage, and while officials were not ready to say what the retailer would be, they said it would not be a high traffic generator.

Ald. Gary Mahkorn said a number of people have asked him about Trader Joe’s for a long time and people are anxiously anticipating the store's arrival.

“It really is reflective of our community and what our community would like to see in retail establishments,” Mahkorn said.

Trader Joe’s, a California-based grocery store, would join PNC Bank and a third yet-unannounced tenant, as well as Target and the junior anchor at Underwood Crossing. If approved, Brookfield would house the third Trader Joe's location in Wisconsin after Bayshore Town Center in Glendale and Madison.

The proposed changes to the development plan will head to the Common Council Tuesday for a vote on scheduling a public hearing.


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