Brookfield village trustees gave the green light to the first new mixed-use development in downtown Brookfield in decades on Dec. 10, voting unanimously to award the zoning variations for a project that will be built at 3704 Grand Blvd.

Trustees voted to allow the new development, which will go on an odd, V-shaped piece of property that fronts both Grand Boulevard and Sunnyside Avenue, to be built lot line to lot line. 

They also approved a zoning variance that will pave the way for the first-ever green roof, which will serve as a prime amenity and gathering space for tenants of the building.

“This is a project that, you would hope, continues in other areas on Grand Boulevard as well to enhance the properties there,” said Trustee Ryan Evans.

Developer Michael Gatto of RMG Realty wants to build a mixed-use building with about 2,750 square feet of ground-floor retail space facing Grand Boulevard. The remainder of the building will consist of three one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom apartments.

In addition, there will be nine covered parking spaces on the ground floor, fronting Sunnyside Avenue.

Neighbors had expressed concern about the impact of the building on Sunnyside Avenue, which is residential. They complained about the density, additional vehicles that will make traffic and parking worse and about a potential loss of privacy, with tenants in a three-story building looking down on the yards of their single-family homes.

Gatto told the Landmark in November that he was working with his architect to see if the building could be set back from Sunnyside Avenue a few feet to allow some relief from the bulk and provide room for balconies for his own residential tenants.

The green roof was not in the initial plans for the building, but came about during discussions with the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission about the variances Gatto sought.

Initially, Gatto had called for a green balcony on the south side of the building. However, the Planning and Zoning Commission concluded that wouldn’t sufficiently address storm water relief requirements.

The green roof, however, will provide for better storm water detention and serve as a selling point for the apartment complex, the village believes. 

The zoning variation ordinance passed by trustees on Dec. 10 states that the design of the green roof must show that “it follows best practices in accordance with national or regional associations” such as the U.S. Green Building Council.

“We added some provisions to make that a more meaningful and better ordinance to address the use of green roofs for the first time, really, in Brookfield,” said Nicholas Greifer, the village’s director of community and economic development. “Ultimately it becomes a building permit application. We want to make sure we try to follow the best practices that are out there.”

Gatto told the Landmark last month that he would shoot for starting construction by spring or summer 2019 with occupancy likely in early 2020. The trick will be the design of the green roof, which will also bring additional expense from a structural standpoint.

“It’s going to be hard finding that system for the roof and implementing it properly,” Gatto said.

Before the project can move forward, Gatto must close on the property, which he has under contract. Then he will need to work with the village’s building department on permits before breaking ground.

While it will take some months to have all of that fall into place, trustees expressed their support for the development, which they hope can be replicated elsewhere in the downtown.  

“I think this is a very nice way to follow our comprehensive plan that we spent so much time on,” said Trustee Nicole Gilhooley. “It’s such a great location and it’s going to complement the other spaces there as well. I think it’s going to work very nice together.”