IKEA to Get New Neighbor
On December 3, 2019, the City of Oak Creek Common Council approved a development agreement with Stand Rock Hospitality (d/b/a Oak Creek Hotel Ventures, LLC) for the first project south of the IKEA store. Wisconsin’s first IKEA store opened in May 2018, and conceptual planning on lands surrounding the retail giant are coming to fruition with additional private investment.
The newly-announced project is a City partnership with Stand Rock Hospitality, which calls for a two-phase hotel with conference and event center development on about five acres directly south of IKEA. The project’s initial phase is a 121 room Homewood Suites by Hilton along with a 11,500 square foot event space. The second phase is slated for an additional hotel, a Tru by Hilton flag, comprising an additional 90-100 rooms. The sum of the two phases equates to a collective investment of over $30,000,000. Additionally, the conference and event center could also see a future expansion of up to 5,000 square feet.
According to Oak Creek Mayor Dan Bukiewicz, the conference and event center is a targeted development the Common Council called out in the City’s Strategic Action Plan. “We really saw additional demand for this type of offering in the south shore area; there was a void. Our strategy is to ensure week-long activity to support other food, entertainment, and retail venues, and when you can bring folks in from outside the area during the work week, it can really add to the vibrancy we seek to attract to Oak Creek, especially in the night time hours.”
To attract this targeted use, the City will utilize tax increment financing directly to Stand Rock Hospitality to help build out the conference and event space, and incentivize the second hotel. “Our Strategic Plan uses the term ‘public-private partnership.’ As a City, we did not want to get into owning, operating, and ultimately maintaining a public event center. Long-term, we feel private ownership of such a facility better protects our taxpayers,” said Mayor Bukiewicz.
Stand Rock Hospitality, known for its Wilderness Resorts in the Wisconsin Dells and Smoky Mountains, TN, as well as the Camelback Lodge in The Pocono Mountains, PA, recently completed a Hampton Inn & Suites in West Allis, which includes the State Fair Park Conference Center space.
“We’ve been successful in West Allis. With that, we also have a firm understanding of the market segment south of I-94”, said Pete Helland, Jr., Managing Partner for Stand Rock. “Our new investment in Oak Creek is like a logical extension of that market reconnaissance. We saw a great opportunity in this emerging market, and the desire to partner with Northwestern Mutual (the property owner) to help catalyze its progressive plans for this appealing site was very attractive.”
Stand Rock will commence construction on its phase one in early spring 2020. The initial build is expected to be around 12 months, with a targeted completion in early summer 2021. Stand Rock has retained Wisconsin firms JKC as the Owner’s Project Manager and Plunkett Raysich Architects as the project architect.
Northwestern Mutual owns approximately 142 acres of land north of Drexel Avenue and west of I-94, but the present focus is on a master plan for the 27 acres immediately south of IKEA. The company hopes to attract a mixed-use development that includes potential residential, retail, and entertainment venues.
Future development plans for the balance of the company’s landholdings in the Drexel Avenue/I-94/27th St. corridor are also underway. Northwestern Mutual has engaged Milwaukee architecture firm, RINKA, to help with that master planning process for its additional +/- 115 acres of developable property.