Candidate Interviews Pages 5 & 13-18
Vote! Nov. 7 Volume 3 • Issue 10
Outpost faces Whole Foods with local emphasis By Michael Timm
n September, Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative marked the anniversary of the opening of its Bay View location, 2826 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., with 48 percent greater sales than its original, admittedly conservative, market study predicted. The same month across town, Whole Foods Market opened a store of staggering scale at just under 54,000 square feet at 2305 N. Prospect Ave. It’s the second largest Whole Foods in the Midwest, and a competitor with Outpost in the Milwaukee natural and gourmet foods marketplace. Driving both Outpost’s sales and Whole Foods’ expansion is a nationwide natural foods retail market that continues to grow rapidly, outpacing regular food sales by as much as factor of 10, according to Outpost General Manager Pam Mehnert in an online column, “Local—The New Organic.”
“Here’s what co-ops tend to do: create interest and seed the market.” —Lisa Malmarowski Outpost’s total sales across three stores (Bay View, 7000 W. State St., 100 E. Capitol Dr.) increased 19 percent in the past ﬁscal year, said Margaret Bert, Outpost’s director of communications. The co-op declined to provide ﬁgures, but anticipates a 15 percent increase in Bay View sales for the next year. Whole Foods declined to comment on its sales, competitors, or projections except to say it welcomes competition. The publicly traded company (NASDAQ: WFMI) with 187 stores on two continents is doing well on Wall Street, however, with shares selling recently in the neighborhood of $60 and a market cap—the current value of all its shares—above $8.5 billion.
Competition “We’ve been preparing for competition for a number of years,” said Lisa Malmarowski, Outpost’s director of brand and store development. “They’re not a surprise.” She said there was awareness Whole Foods was investigating the Milwaukee market for at least the past decade. Increasing customer convenience by building multiple Outpost stores was one strategy to prepare for more competition, Malmarowski said, though locations were determined by coop owner desires. Bay View opened 8,000 square feet of retail space plus the commissary, preparing food for all three stores, in 2005; State Street opened in 2000; Capitol Drive was expanded in 1997. “Obviously it’s [Milwaukee is] very much an emerging gourmet market,” said Kate Klotz, public relations specialist for Whole Foods’ Midwest region. “We’d been looking for a very long time to ﬁnd a perfect spot for the store.” Whole Foods’ dramatic entry into the East Side reﬂects that the Milwaukee natural foods market has ripened, in part due to Outpost, said Malmarowski. “Here’s what co-ops tend to do: create interest and seed the market,” she said. As for the economic impact the large-scale corporate retailer will have on Milwaukee’s largest preexisting natural foods co-op, if Minneapolis is any example, the seeders have so far proved robust competitors. Minneapolis has ﬁve diﬀerent co-ops, and they have continued to grow even after Whole Foods came to town in the late 1990s. “I think it just slowed our growth down temporarily. A lot of members went out, scoped it out, came back,” said Elizabeth Archerd, member services director at The Wedge Natural Foods Cooperative in Minneapolis. She said all the Twin Cities co-ops are sharing in a growing market where they also compete against conventional retailers. SEE PAGE 9
The proposed Mod Lofts apartments, looking east along Lincoln Ave. The white building is 422 E. Lincoln Ave., which houses Wild Flour Bakery & Café as well as nine condo units of the Allis Street Flats. ~image courtesy Vetter-Denk Architecture
Green architecture proposed for ﬁve-story, 53-unit apartment By Michael Timm
n the past it was a burial ground. In the present it’s a parking lot. The city of Milwaukee and Vetter-Denk Architecture would like the future of 2254 S. Allis St. to be an innovative ﬁve-story, 53-unit modular apartment building called Mod Lofts.
John Vetter of Vetter-Denk, which submitted one of two proposals for the site, described his concept before about 50 people at a public meeting Sept. 18 sponsored by District 14 Alderman Tony Zielinski. Vetter said the lot was situated at the “epicenter of Bay View” and that Mod Lofts would help form a “town square quality” while satisfying a “pent-up market for high quality rental” in Bay View. Vetter envisioned two types of retail in 3,500 square feet of ﬁrst ﬂoor space: “service-centered” in the 1,300 square feet oﬀ Lincoln, and “social,” perhaps a café, in the 2,200 square feet oﬀ Allis. Above this would be a second story outdoor terrace with stair access from the Allis Street sidewalk. A requirement for the proposal was to at least replace as much parking as currently exists: 51 spaces with 29 metered, 17 leased, and ﬁve by overnight permit. The proposed building incorporates a two-level
parking structure with approximately 90 spaces, 38 on the ﬁrst level and 52 above. Residential units would be prefabricated modules of “open unencumbered space” of about 16 by 38 feet. Vetter said they would cater to the “bohemian lifestyle” and range in price from $600 to $900 per month depending on location within the building and the current market rates for rentals. He said Mod Lofts targeted “younger urban professionals and the environmentally-minded.” The lofts would have ﬂoorto-ceiling operable glass windows. Some would have lake views, he said. A market study by Virchow, Krause, and Company supported Vetter-Denk’s conclusions about the project’s viability, Vetter said, but was conﬁdential. Virchow, Krause, and Company did not return Compass inquiries about the nature of the market study. Green features would be incorporated into the building design, including recycled materials, renewable energies, passive ventilation, and possibly a green roof to manage stormwater. Two communal terraces on third level would be open spaces for tenants, but not public. Vetter said he was investigating grants SEE PAGE 6
INSIDE Pg 5 Pg 6 Pg 7 Pg 8 Pg 10 Pg 11 Pg 13 Pg 14 Pg 15 Pg 16 Pg 17 Pg 18 Pg 19 ~photo Michael Timm
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Bay View Compass PO Box 100 Milwaukee WI 53201-0100