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Apartments, retail considered for Shorewood's Riverbrook site

April 26, 2012

Wangard Partners Inc. is considering apartments and retail use for a high-profile development site in Shorewood that it recently bought.

Wangard paid $1.5 million for the 3.2-acre site on the south side of E. Capitol Drive, between the Milwaukee River and the biking trail overpass, said Jimmy Rosen, vice president at the firm.

The site includes a vacant lot on Capitol Drive where the former Riverbrook Family Restaurant, which closed four years ago, was demolished in 2011. It also includes the vacant Sherburn Place Apartments, just south of the lot.

In 2008, McLean, Va.-based Sunrise Senior Living Inc. bought the site for $2.35 million. Sunrise planned to demolish all the buildings and develop an 83-unit assisted living facility. But the recession and credit crunch forced Sunrise to drop that project.

The village last year paid to demolish the former restaurant, which village officials called an eyesore. As part of that agreement with Sunrise, the company paid the village $60,000 to compensate for the demolition costs after selling the land, said Village Manager Chris Swartz.

Rosen said the apartments eventually will be demolished to create more development space. He said Wangard might do the development, or might sell the land to another developer.

The site, and its development prospects, will be discussed at the next meeting of the village's Community Development Authority, on May 4.

The Riverbrook building for over 50 years housed the Pig 'n Whistle Restaurant. It closed in 1992, and was replaced by Riverbrook.

Riverbrook closed when Sunrise bought the property.

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