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OCONOMOWOC, WI-Developers Diversified Realty is now showing off its plan for the Town Center at Pabst Farms Mall to the various city boards, in preparation to achieve approval for the 1.5-million-sf retail development. The project also includes another 500,000 sf of residential, hotel and office. The company took the project on after the previous developer, General Growth Properties, dropped out in October.

On Thursday, Feb. 7, DDR presented the plan to a public hearing at the city’s Plan Commission meeting. The plan included some minor changes to DDR’s plan that was introduced in December, which includes a lot of the retail proposed by General Growth, but switched an indoor mall with a lifestyle center. The recent changes were minor, and included signage that would shield the backs of some stores, and reducing the number of footage to just about two million sf.

The property is at the corner of Interstate 94 and Highway 67, on vacant land owned by a venture consisting of Peter Bell, president of Libertyville, IL-based First Realty Co., and August Pabst, CEO of Pabst Farms Inc. The entire project is about 1,500 acres, with the retail portion taking up about 200 acres and the rest occupied by 1,200 single-family residences and five million sf of office, healthcare, hotels and industrial.

Basically, the retail site consists of two portions, east and west, separated by a section of woods. The western portion will have a selection of 500,000 sf of big box retailers, and the eastern portion will have about one million sf, with a strip-type center and a lifestyle center that will include a large bookstore and movie theater, says a DDR spokesman. He tells GlobeSt.com that tenants have not yet been identified, but that the anchors include “an upscale department store and a sporting goods store.” The eastern portion could include offices and multifamily residential above the retail. “More than retail has not been fully explored, we’re not sure if we would build out the offices or residences, or not,” the spokesman says. He would not speculate on a cost of development.

There’s another planning commission meeting Feb. 14, in which the body should vote on a recommendation to approve the plan, the DDR spokesman says. City council approval of the recommendation could come as early as Feb. 19, he says. “If they approve it, then we’ll start on getting letters of intent from retailers,” the spokesman says. “We hope to start this year, it depends on how quickly the leasing goes. The opening date is still set for 2010.”

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