FOX POINT - A proposed apartment and senior living facility at the former Dunwood School site was unveiled to Fox Point officials on Monday, March 6.
But unlike the plans that rankled neighbors at Fox Point-Bayside School Board meetings last year, The Mandel Group's revised plan for their Dunwood Commons development no longer includes a grocery store — or any other retailers at all. The eight to 10 two-story townhome buildings along Dunwood Road have been eliminated. A clubhouse and a park have been added, and the amount of open space has nearly doubled.
After hearing complaints from neighbors about the two three-story apartment buildings containing 110 to 115 units, The Mandel Group broke the apartments into four smaller buildings with 105 total units. The four apartment buildings — all of which now have underground parking — are oriented around a new clubhouse. The two buildings closest to Dunwood Road will be two stories, while the buildings on the south end of the site will be three stories.
The apartments, which Martin said are inspired by the architectural style of English arts and crafts, feature red-shingled roofs, siding made out of limestone and clapboard and floor-to-ceiling windows. Rent at the apartment buildings will range from $1,550 for a one-bedroom unit to $3,200 for a three-bedroom unit.
The proposed 80-unit memory care facility has been moved from the southeast end of the site to the northwest corner of the site, closer to the intersection of Port Washington and Dunwood roads. The senior facility would be buffered from the houses north of Dunwood Road through berms and rain gardens, and the facility's parking lot would directly front Port Washington Road.
The Mandel Group previously planned for Azura Memory Care to operate the facility, but Ian Martin, vice president of development for The Mandel Group, said he has not yet selected a company to operate the facility. The senior facility will provide a mix of assisted living and memory care, which treats patients with dementia as well as other illnesses that require intensive care, he said.
A walking trail will run throughout the development and will connect to a new community park on Dunwood Road. Just south of the park will be the new clubhouse, which will be enclosed by a circular drive used to access the four surrounding apartment buildings. The clubhouse will feature an 800-square-foot community room available for civic groups, as well as a fitness center, kitchen, outdoor patios, grilling centers and full-time leasing and maintenance staff.
All traffic coming in or out of the development will use a new road off Port Washington Road, addressing neighbors' concerns about increased traffic on Dunwood Road.
Neighbors also voiced concerns about stormwater issues in the area. As a result, The Mandel Group designed its site to manage stormwater for its property, as well as an additional two acre-feet of stormwater through the use of bio-retention ponds and rain gardens.
The reconfigured site plan would result in nearly 8 acres of green space on the 11.6-acre property. The Mandel Group increased the amount of green space from 35 percent to 68 percent by relocating the buildings, putting parking underground and eliminating retail stores.
The 62-year-old Dunwood School building has not been used for educational purposes since 1992. Several community organizations lease space in the building, but the school district is losing money due to rising maintenance costs. The Mandel Group made an offer of $3.7 million on the property last year, but that offer is conditional upon receiving the necessary approval from Fox Point officials.
The Dunwood property is zoned as institutional, which would already allow the senior housing to be built as a permitted use. The village board would have to rezone the property to allow the luxury apartments and the clubhouse.
The Mandel Group appeared before the Fox Point Plan Commission for a pre-petition conference. If The Mandel Group files an application with the village, the village board would have to refer the application to the plan commission for a recommendation. Public comment will be allowed at that plan commission meeting. The plan commission would then make a recommendation to the village board. The village board would then hold a public hearing before making a decision.
The Mandel Group's target market for the luxury apartments is empty-nesters who would like to shirk the responsibility of home ownership without leaving the community. After analyzing demographic data, The Mandel Group found that, by 2021, the North Shore area will have more than 10,510 Baby Boomers who meet their target renter profile based on income. Estimating that 44 percent of those Boomers will choose to rent, The Mandel Group believes more than 4,600 Baby Boomers will soon be in the market for a luxury apartment.
As an example of the demand for luxury apartments, Martin pointed to the Beaumont Place development that opened in 2015 in Whitefish Bay. The average age of the residents is 60, and the average annual income is $190,000. The 83-unit development has been nearly 100 percent occupied since its opening.
“There’s a real demand for suburban Baby Boomer living, and that kind of flew in the face of conventional wisdom at the time,” Martin said of the high demand for The Mandel Group's luxury apartments in Shorewood and Whitefish Bay.