Filling up fast: Lumberyard goes up along with apartment demand
by Melanie Boyung
GRAFTON — The Lumberyard 1505 development rising in downtown Grafton isn’t waiting to open before leasing out units.
Last week, June 1, marked the opening of about half the Lumberyard’s 77 apartment units. According to property manager Evan Diece, of Fiduciary Real Estate Development,30 to 40 percent of the apartments are already leased, some for June move-in and some for the second half that are slated to be available July 1.
Lumberyard 1505 apartments range from studio to three-bedroom units, priced from $950 to $2,000 per month. There is also a one-time $100 fee – per apartment – at move-in for use of the community space and fitness center.
The apartments are fully applianced; kitchens include granite countertops, and units have other amenities like walk-in closets, balconies and in-unit washers and dryers. Ria Blake, Lumberyard property supervisor, said having preleasing, before tenants can even see the finished apartments, is not uncommon. They look at floor plans, take hard-hat tours of the building and then they sign.
Blake said the Lumberyard 1505 was advertised through signage, Craigslist, Apartment Guide and online, and people seeking apartments find them. “It’s definitely the trend right now,” she said of people wanting to rent. “We had a number of people calling the developer or the Chamber of Commerce (about leasing).”
Pam King, Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said they have taken a lot of positive calls from people interested in the development.
“They like the walkability of it, it’s downtown, it’s new and modern,” King said.
Mequon recently had significant apartment development as well, with the Town Center project, and Cedarburg currently has the Arabelle apartments moving forward for the former St. Francis Borgia school property.
“There is a high demand for rentals in this area,” Carolyn Stangl said.
Stangl is president of the Ozaukee Realtors Association. While she said Realtors do not market or search for apartments, they do hear things through the industry and clients.
Stangl said the two groups she has noticed shifting from own to rent are seniors – those who want less to take care of or “snowbirds” who don’t need as much space – and young families, attracted to the community or school districts in Ozaukee County.
“It’s a combination of people who want to downsize … and the other is families who want to move to the area, but aren’t quite ready to buy,” Stangl said.
Blake said that in an apartment complex like Lumberyard 1505, the expectation is to fill out the units within six months of opening. She said their goal in Grafton is to reach 95-percent occupancy by the end of August.
“We have everything from college students to seniors and everything in between,” Blake said of the leases so far.
Lumberyard 1505 is going up in conjunction with the Lumberyard Public Plaza, which the village is building adjacent to the development. The plaza is scheduled to be finished within the week, with a public ribbon-cutting Tuesday evening, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., in the plaza at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Beech Street.
No news is available on commercial tenants for the Lumberyard yet; The building includes about 10,700 square feet of first-floor commercial space. While Diece said one unit was built specifically as a restaurant, nothing has been confirmed on businesses for the retail area.