By Bob Uphues
Real estate developer Michael Gatto, who has completed two apartment building projects in downtown Brookfield and has a third under construction in the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard, has submitted plans for a fourth building at 3727 Sunnyside Ave.
The Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission will conduct a public hearing to consider the plans at its meeting scheduled for Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in the council chamber of the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave.
Gatto's company closed on the property on Dec. 22, 2020, purchasing it for $129,500 from Steven Campbell, who has owned the 8,500-square-foot parcel since 2004.
The property sits directly north, across the alley, from Gatto's first development in Brookfield, a nine-unit apartment building at 8934 Fairview Ave., completed in 2017.
In a phone interview last week, Gatto told the Landmark that he is proposing a nine-unit apartment building – three two-bedroom and six one-bedroom units. Like his finished buildings on Fairview Avenue and at 8917 Grant Ave., which emphasize clean lines and a modern aesthetic, this one would be similar in style.
"The materials will be a little different," Gatto said. "There will be tongue-and-groove, flush-mounted wood on the front of the building. It's the same modern design, but based on the village's zoning modernization materials guide, it'll be a slightly different product [than the cement lapboards used for earlier projects]."
The long, narrow, irregularly shaped lot, which measures roughly 50-by-180 feet, means the three-story building will be arranged in two wings that are set back from one another to avoid "a big blank wall on Sunnyside," Gatto said.
Parking for the development will be at the rear of the lot, but its arrangement will be unusual due to the shape of the lot. While the development will not need a zoning variation for the number of spaces – plans show parking spaces for 10 vehicles – the development will need a variation because Gatto is asking for what are essentially two separate parking areas with access from the side alley.
Gatto will need a second variation related to a lot coverage issue. He also expects the unpaved east-west alley that runs from Sunnyside Avenue between his two properties to the paved alley that runs behind the Grand Boulevard businesses to be a subject of discussion during his hearing before the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission.
When he won approval for the Fairview Avenue apartments in 2016, Gatto had told planning and zoning commissioners that having to pave that stretch of alley would be a financial deal-breaker for him.
Although commissioners had expressed a desire for him to pave the alley, it was not made a condition for approving the Fairview building. Now that the alley runs between two Gatto properties and will provide access to parking for both, that could change.
"I think that's going to be something we'll have to work through," said Gatto, though he called any prediction on what direction the village take "premature."
Grand Blvd. project inching ahead
Meanwhile, Gatto's mixed-use commercial/residential development under way at 3704 Grand Blvd. in the heart of downtown Brookfield remains on track, if taking a bit longer to get vertical.
The building will house a ground-floor commercial space on Grand Boulevard, covered ground-floor parking facing Sunnyside Avenue and 17 one-bedroom apartments. The project broke ground in late October 2020.
The concrete foundation has been poured and structural steel is ready to go, but Gatto said lumber supplies have been a challenge since the pandemic began, with prices still 50 percent higher than normal and somewhat difficult to source.
However, Gatto said he has found a lumber supplier for the project and work will be continuing throughout the winter.