New shanty proposed for S. Pier District

Islander 1

Two City of Sheboygan Common Council committees are expected to discuss another proposed retail development in the South Pier District early next week.

Steve Sokolowski, the city's manager of planning and zoning, said LJM Architects Inc. is asking the city to approve plans to construct a 2-unit retail shanty called The Islander Building along the south bank of the Sheboygan River.

"It's a shanty that's proposed by Erik Jensen (of LJM)," Sokolowski said. "From what he's indicating, it would be approximately 2,500 square feet and have two tenants, which he indicates one would be a pastry shop/restaurant and the other would be a flower shop."
The Islander Building would be built next to another LJM development, a three-shop shanty at 538 South Pier Drive.

Paulette Enders, director of planning and development, said LJM — which has worked on several other the developments in the South Pier district — does not have a final ground lease approved yet through the redevelopment authority or a development agreement, but the firm has submitted a request to the planning commission and the Architectural Review Board.

The architectural board will discuss the plans Monday, and the plan commission will discuss the development Tuesday. Both meetings are at 4 p.m.

Jensen could not be reached for comment. Scott Matula, senior architect for LJM, said the firm is interested in breaking ground as soon as possible.

"Everything is all in place, and he's shooting on starting construction right away and being open in September," Matula said.

The South Pier District has been a hotbed of development since the opening of the Blue Harbor Resort and Convention Center.

Enders said other developers, including John Schwarz of Harborside Development & Entertainment and Christine Holbrook, have projects in the works for the area.

"They see people are feeling more comfortable and they're taking on the risk. As they propose projects, their risk becomes diminished," Enders said. "We looked at (Blue Harbor) as our anchor tenant. Then Jomaji Salon & Spa came in. They were taking a risk, but as more businesses come in obviously there's less risk involved. In retail, more is more."

Matula said the early South Pier pioneers let developers see that the area has a lot of potential.

"There's a lot of synergy and excitement starting to happen in that area," Matula said. "Our office is right across the river, and every time we look out there, there's more stuff going on, there's more cars out there, more people walking on the boardwalk; it's starting to take root."
Sokolowski said even though the South Pier District has been a reality for only about two to three years, the area is booming.

"From the city's perspective it's very exciting that there's people who see Sheboygan and the South Pier area as a good place to be, and they believe they can open up new businesses and be successful," Sokolowski said. "We're extremely happy with that."

LaRose, Eric. “New shanty proposed for S. Pier District.” The Sheboygan Press. May 6, 2006, page A1.