MOUNT PLEASANT — A Potbelly Sandwich Shop and office building that will be home to Johnson Insurance will both be coming to the former Golden Keys Restaurant site on Highway 20.
The redevelopment at 5930 Washington Ave., in the heart of Mount Pleasant’s commercial corridor, is the work of the Olesens, owners of O&H Danish Bakery. The site is adjacent to O&H’s flagship store and baking center at 5910 Washington Ave.
Racine County Economic Development Corp., the village and the Olesens of O&H — incorporated as Pale Properties LLC — made the Johnson Insurance announcement at a joint Mount Pleasant Village Board and Community Development Authority meeting Thursday. Both entities unanimously approved a development agreement for an office building to house that local company.
The agreement includes an estimated $87,500 in financial assistance in the form of a 50 percent property tax rebate over 10 years for the office building. That project is valued in total at $3.9 million.
There is no financial incentive for the retail building, an approximately $1 million project.
The Olesen family bought the vacant, 2-acre Golden Keys property in late 2015 for $1.5 million. At the time O&H owner Eric Olesen said the only plans were to remove the blighted building so the site could be redeveloped.
Olesen’s son and company Vice President Peter Olesen said the original 2-acre site was split in half, north and south. The first phase, on the southern parcel, they plan to build a 4,900-square-foot, two-unit retail building facing Washington Avenue. Potbelly is their first tenant and will take about half of that building, leaving one more available space of about 2,500 square feet, he said.
According to the Potbelly Sandwich Shop website, the name comes from the potbelly stove as a symbol of a gathering place. Each of the company’s more than 400 restaurants incorporates that symbol into its décor with an antique potbelly stove.
Potbelly serves fresh, toasted sandwiches; salads; soups; cookies and desserts; and shakes and smoothies. According to the company website, the nearest Potbelly shops are in Pleasant Prairie and Milwaukee.
Olesen said construction on the retail building, by Absolute Construction, should start in April. That would be followed by the build-out by Potbelly starting in September and an opening by the end of this year.
New plans emerge
Initially, Peter Olesen said, the family had planned to use the northern land parcel, a year or two after the first building was constructed, to build a one-story, multitenant building of about 7,000 square feet.
But then Johnson Insurance, a division of Johnson Financial Group, expressed interest in having a larger office building there, he said. “We only had enough space to go up.”
The new office will replace Johnson Insurance’s current location, located farther west, at 13303 Washington Ave., which was originally built as an auto dealership. The company is expected to take 10,500 square feet, or 75 percent, of the 14,000-square-foot office building. The offices will be occupied by about 50 Johnson Insurance employees.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with the Olesen family alongside our friends in the Village of Mount Pleasant,” stated Karla Krehbiel, regional president at JFG. “Pale Properties allows us to manage our growing insurance business, while providing a more modern and accessible office space to our associates and clients.”
The rest of the office building, all first-floor space, will be available for other users. Construction should start this summer and be completed by about spring 2018.
“When we purchased the blighted and vacant Golden Keys Restaurant property, our goal was to develop a safe and lively site, incorporating it as part of our O&H Danish Bakery campus, to provide additional opportunities for our community to visit and shop,” Olesen stated. “The addition of the office building is in line with our vision for the site and will be a great complement to the retail building.”
“When we purchased the blighted and vacant Golden Keys Restaurant property, our goal was to develop a safe and lively site, incorporating it as part of our O&H Danish Bakery campus, to provide additional opportunities for our community to visit and shop.”
— Peter Olesen