The need for student housing at Carroll University has prompted developers to move forward with the third phase of a new residence hall on West College Avenue years ahead of schedule.
The final plans for the third phase — phases one and two are already complete — were approved unanimously Wednesday by the Waukesha Plan Commission. The plans call for the 52,392-square-foot building to have 4,699 square feet of retail space.
The residential hall for the university will include 130 beds in 32 units, according to city documents. The second phase of the project opened for student living last fall.
“We will have an issue this fall with beds because we have the need for this many beds this fall already,” said Ron Lostetter, vice president for finance and administrative service at Carroll University. “We will make some accommodations on campus for it. For our business to grow and prosper, we need beds.”
Carroll University leases the building from the developers, Clysmic III, which means the building remains on the city’s tax rolls. A tax incremental financing agreement has not yet been presented to the Common Council for the third phase of the development, but the first two phases of the development included TIF funding.
Tax incremental financing allows the city to provide funding to a project that will be paid back through the increased property taxes generated on the higher property value from the project.
The third phase is expected to increase property value to $7.4 million. The other two phases are worth about $10 million each, according to community development specialist Jennifer Andrews.
“We are very happy to see (the project) moving ahead so quickly,” Andrews told the Plan Commission.
Retail Development Moving Slowly
The second phase of the residence hall has retail space available, but so far only Au Bon Pain, a soup, salad and sandwich restaurant, has located in the building. The economic conditions and the difficulty of businesses to obtain loans for the stores has slowed down the development, said Alan Huelsman, the developer on the project.
Huelsman remains confident that the building will attract retail businesses such as a pizza place, ice cream store, a salon or a fitness center. The third phase of the project has room for two to three stores, he told the commission.
“We do have an ongoing conversation and are working with a number of retailers,” Huelsman said. “I am still totally convinced we can create a student community there and get these places filled with high-quality establishments.”