CALEDONIA — The village is continuing to move to fill empty land with new high-end housing along and near the lakefront.
The Caledonia Village Board at its meeting Monday unanimously approved a development agreement with Sussex-based Cornerstone Development of Southeast Wisconsin, LLC for parcels located in Tax Incremental District No. 5, west of Waters Edge Road/Erie Street.
These properties were formerly a doctor’s office and the Western Publishing Company parking lot. The development totals 18.5 acres and is to be named “The Glen at Water’s Edge.”
This development is across the street from the Water’s Edge Condominium development, which was approved in September 2020 to be located at addresses including 5915, 5919 and 5945 Waters Edge Road.
Cornerstone Development proposed to construct 30 single-family homes with an estimated completion value of $15 million.
The Village of Caledonia created TID No. 5 as a “rehabilitation-conservation” district. This project adheres to that plan by providing a five-acre park in the TID No. 5 boundary and extends Five Mile Road from Waters Edge Road to the current endpoint of Five Mile Road near N. Pointe Drive, providing improved vehicular circulation and access, village plans say.
The 30 homes will range from approximately 1,600 to 2,600 square feet, not including lower levels. The average lot size is estimated to be 12,000 square feet.
The five-acre park is to be located near the central part of The Glen at Water’s Edge development along with a walking trail. The park will contain a pond and Cornerstone Development is additionally planning a fountain there.
“We’re really excited about this because it’s going to be a nice place to grow a new neighborhood and we think we have a plan that would work well,” said John Wahlen, owner of Cornerstone Development. He noted people often ask about walking paths and access to nature; it’s important.
Wahlen estimated the homes would sell for around $400,000-$500,000.
“We’re offering granite and quartz counters, and Kohler fixtures and great trim,” Wahlen said.
Wahlen said he’s hoping that by the end of this year, his company is “rolling on infrastructure” so construction can begin by the spring. The homes should be fully completed by 2024 or 2025, he said.
“I just am excited for some high-end homes here in Caledonia, that offer beautiful landscaping close to the big body of water we call Lake Michigan,” Trustee Holly McManus said. “But I’m excited for you guys to be in the village and offer some kind of competition to our neighboring jurisdictions to say, ‘hey, come live here.’ We’re just as good as everywhere else, if not better.”
Water’s Edge Condominiums
The original plans were to create a 280-unit residential complex for the Water’s Edge Condominiums.
The developer now intends to construct approximately 178 units, with an estimated development cost of at least $60 million. The Village Board unanimously approved this change in plan.
Original plans also stated the units were meant to be condominiums, but if they weren’t sold, they could be rented as apartments. The new plans state the units are only to be sold as condominiums and townhomes.
These buildings are to be located on 20.1 acres at the former Olympia Brown School/R.E.A.L. School and former Western Publishing Co. Creative Center, now owned by the Village of Caledonia. The latter has been vacant since the mid-1990s.
The project is led by West Allis-based Cardinal Capital Management Inc., under the limited liability company CCM-Caledonia. Construction has already begun, and the projected end date for the entire project is 2027.
The village supported the changes because it acknowledged that diversity of housing types is needed and, in particular, that there is a shortage of housing choices in the village and surrounding communities, village plans say. The village desired to expand its housing stock, including residential housing with a density of about 10 units per acre, within the district and upon the property.
The Racine County Economic Development Corporation retained Ehlers, Inc.; The Lakota Group; Market and Feasibility Advisors; and Foth Companies to undertake a Racine County Development Study which recommended that “the demands for supplier facilities, housing for temporary and permanent workforce and infrastructure demands to support … private investment may require financial commitments from local governments” and that tax incremental financing is an important financial tool to make such projects financially feasible.
“The village finds that the development of the project are in the vital and best interests of the village and its residents and will serve a public purpose in accordance with state and local law,” plans state.
Jack Reichl, CCM-Caledonia construction project manager, said he has been helping remove asbestos from the existing buildings, knocking them down and working on bluff stabilization throughout the past year.
“I’m now excited to be moving forward with new construction soon,” Reichl said. “We’re very excited with what Rinka (the architects) has come up with in a short amount of time after they saw the market study.”
Two-story townhomes are to be perched at the north east corner of the site. A conservancy area is slated for the center of the development. West of the conservancy, there are additional townhomes on the right side of the roadway. The villas along Waters Edge Road are fourplexes. Most units will have two bedrooms, but there will be one-bedroom and three-bedroom units as well.
In past designs, there wasn’t enough parking. So, with the new plans, each unit has two parking stalls, Reichl said.
Resident Jane Batten, who lives on Waters Edge Road, said the original plan made the neighborhood a little nervous.
“I just want to commend you on working through a better plan and a plan that is better suited to where we see our neighborhood going,” Batten said, addressing the Village Board. “We always have an opinion … I just want to tell you that we’re happy that you have kept us in the loop and hopefully you continue with this. Good plan.”
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Rachel Kubik covers Racine County government for The Journal Times as well as eastern municipalities such as Caledonia and Wind Point. She is the senior reporter and a frequent page editor. Follow her on Twitter @Rachel_Kubik.
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Where Olympia Brown Elementary School had stood in Caledonia there is now rubble, but within a few years the area could be reborn with new houses and lakefront condominiums. Warnings on the fences tell passersby to stay out.
Pictured is a map of the Water’s Edge Condominium development, which was approved in September 2020 to be located at addresses including 5915, 5919 and 5945 Waters Edge Road. At the Monday meeting, the Village Board approved a revised development agreement to shrink the planned buildings.
Sussex-based Cornerstone Development of Southeast Wisconsin, LLC is developing parcels located in Tax Incremental District no. 5, west of Waters Edge Road/Erie Street. The development totals 18.5 acres and is to be named “The Glen at Water’s Edge.”
Pictured is a map showing side-by-side two new residential developments coming to Caledonia near the lakefront. To the west of Erie Street is The Glen at Water's Edge development, which was approved via a development agreement Monday, and to the east of Erie Street is the Water’s Edge Condominium development, which was originally approved in September 2020 but modified Monday. The two developments are connected with a walking trail, shown by a red dotted line.