Clear | 3MPH




September 2014


German mogul buys DDR stock

Two big developments in the Pabst Farm saga unfolded this week: news that the shopping development might be delayed another year and that a large German mall magnate is buying a stake in DDR, the developer of the Oconomowoc project.

Pabst Farm Spokesman Thad Nation has stuck to his guns on a 2010 opening for the past couple of years, but during a Tuesday business luncheon for Oconomowoc chamber members, Developers Diversified Realty Director of Development Bob Elias mentioned a 2011 date for Pabst Farm Town Centre for the first time publically.

On the same day, ECE Projektmanagement of Germany announced it will increase its ownership of DDR's shares to 36 million common shares, which is an excess of 20 percent. The sale will make the European mall developer DDR's largest individual shareholder.

Chamber luncheon

DDR held the meeting at the chamber event in an effort to gain support from the group on its plan for the shopping center. DDR touted enhanced architecture; diverse, creative building fronts; extensive landscaping and background music as ways the Town Centre a shopping experience will be like no other; one that keeps people coming back.

Architect Steve Smith of Steven Perry Smith Architects, who has worked with Pabst Farms to design the M&I Bank, the Market Place and the Hilton Garden Inn, approves of the Town Centre design, saying it is like no other shopping center in the area.

Landscaping is missing in shopping centers today and the signs are repetitive and boring, Smith said, but not at Pabst Farms. The Town Centre Green, a public gathering place in the shopping center was touted as a huge asset to the design. DDR said it would serve as a gathering place for every type of shopper and a space for community events. DDR used examples of success at similar social areas at malls in Texas, Florida and California. Members questioned the viability of the spot in a Wisconsin climate when inches of snow would cover the area. DDR's answer was that ice sculptures and winter activities could then be planned.

DDR Development Vice President Dan Herman said the challenges developers face due to the economy are significant. He said 50 to 70 percent of the storefronts would have to be leased in advance before a bank would lend money for the mall's construction. "The era of building a retail space and then looking for tenants is over," Herman said. When asked about potential big box stores anchoring the development, DDR said larger tenants need to be established before the boutique shops would sign on.

The progress of the interchange at I-94 and Highway P was questioned. Pabst Development Manager Dan Warren said noticeable work will begin soon. He said bids for construction of the $25 million interchange will be let in November and that the state has already spent $5 million to $6 million on the interchange. Even though these parts are moving ahead, Waukesha County is still skeptical that the center will be a regional draw. Officials have said it will match Pabst's $1.75 million contribution to the interchange depending on whether the Town Centre is determined to be a regional draw.

ECE sale

Separate from the meeting, news broke Tuesday about Alexander Otto and his family who own ECE, a developer of inner-city shopping centers. They manage 111 malls in 15 central and European countries. Otto is also the largest shareholder of German company Deutsche EuroShop AG, which owns 16 shopping centers valued at more than $2 billion.

On ECE's Web site,, Otto said, "I am delighted that we win a highly competent partner on the world's largest retail market. We were therefore able to capture the chance to further advance our global expansion in a demanding market environment. From our shareholding, I expect a considerable exchange of knowhow. We have already worked together very good with this competent team of DDR and now we would be pleased to extend this cooperation."

DDR already manages retail operating properties in 45 states, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Canada. The 710 properties comprise a total of 14.6 million square meters.

DDR Chief Executive Officer Scott Wolstein said, "Not only does the transaction offer the unique opportunity for us to profit from the common knowledge, but also to reduce leverage and improve liquidity." Wolstein also said the sale will provide capital for debt reduction.

Director of Economic Development Bob Duffy said the sale is definitely a positive for the Pabst development. "Not knowing the details, I do think it sends a pretty strong message that there are others interested in investing in their company in the global market," Duffy said. "It is an interesting concept to watch and to attract an investor is a positive that shows they have some recognition."

Living Lake Country

E-mail Newsletter

Top stories from the Lake Country area. Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.
Lake Country Construction Guide


Consruction season is underway in Lake Country and

we've got you covered when it comes to street closures and delays:

Mukwonago area projects

Sussex, Menomonee Falls area projects

Kettle Moraine area projects

Greater Lake Country area projects


Community Pride 2014


Celebrate Lake Country 

communities with stories

of community pride








Rummage Router
Just click to find a rummage near you


Your Photos
Rachel - Delafield , WI
Community Blogs

Lake Country residents share their views on news, happenings and current events.

It's Hemmer Time
By Amy L. Geiger-Hemmer
Voter ID reinstated for November election!

Cook's Corner
By Cynthia Acosta Luksich
Summer in Wisconsin equals chili: Basic chili from leftover taco meat

Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective
By Bernie Ziebart
War Powers Act

By Mike Garber
34th Topic - Picking AND Grinning

Eagle's Eye
By Al Neuhauser
Global Humbug IX-Environmental Madness features more than a dozen community bloggers - a group of volunteer conversation leaders who are up on the latest topics and never short on an opinion. Just a few are pictured here. Check out the rest and see what they have to say!

View All Blogs

Discussion Guidelines

Do you want to become a Community Blogger? welcomes your thoughts and opinions. Contact us for more information:
I want to blog

Legal Notices
Back to top