A long-anticipated new mixed-use development broke ground in downtown Brookfield last week, and the developer said he hopes the building could be ready to lease by the end of 2021 or spring 2022 at the latest.
Michael Gatto of RMG Realty won village approval for the three-story development at 3704 Grand Blvd., which combines ground-floor commercial and two floors of apartments, in December 2018.
Since that time, Gatto has been refining the plan’s details, making a few changes to the design along the way.
Among the changes to the plan are the elimination of a setback that would have created a created a first-floor green roof deck area along the south façade. The final design eliminates the setback and expands the green roof on top of the second floor.
The final plan also shrinks the first-floor commercial space from 2,750 square feet to 1,200 square feet and now will offer 17 one-bedroom apartments instead of 11 two-bedroom apartments.
There are nine covered, ground-floor parking spaces at the rear of the building, which faces Sunnyside Avenue.
“Demand in the suburbs is extreme for single-bedroom apartments,” said Gatto. “I think that marketplace is significantly easier and stable to rent.”
Gatto added that he didn’t want to flood the downtown Brookfield market with two-bedroom apartments. His recently completed six-unit apartment building at 8917 Grant Ave. are all two-bedroom. It is 100-percent leased, said Gatto, with five of the units leasing within a week in June.
He also owns a nine-unit apartment building at 8934 Fairview Ave., which includes one-, two- and three-bedroom units. That building is also fully occupied.
“I didn’t want to create a swell of two-bedrooms when we’re the leaseholder of the other two-bedrooms in the area,” Gatto said.
Gatto had hoped initially to begin construction at 3704 Grand Blvd. in late 2019 but designing the green roof was trickier than expected and the COVID-19 pandemic slowed financing.
“COVID really slowed down the entire world, especially the banking side of it,” Gatto said. “But now we’re starting to dig and really our only hurdle we’ve got now is lumber pricing.”
The exterior materials will include a stone-faced ground floor with wood composite siding covering the upper two floors. As for the green roof, Gatto said having a more substantial rooftop component “adds to the value of the building and the general downtown atmosphere.”
Gatto is not done developing property in downtown Brookfield. He said he has a contract to buy the property at 3727 Sunnyside Ave., which sits across the alley from Alphabet Learning Center on Grand Boulevard.
The building on that long, narrow 8,300-square-foot parcel served a century ago as a poultry feed store and is now a rental home. Gatto said he expects to close on the property in December.
Asked what kind of development he see there, Gatto said he doesn’t have a final concept in mind, but that it would be appropriate for a residential development of at least six units.