Holding Property Owners Accountable: City Goes to Court on Sunrise Plaza

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Consider it another example of the work we are doing to ensure property owners live up to our ordinance requirements and do what’s right by the city they call home.

Lawsuits are a last a resort, but they a tool we are using more and more. We have to. Enough is enough, with some of these property owners.

From Biz Times

The city of South Milwaukee is suing the owner of Sunrise Plaza, arguing code violations and a lack of maintenance violate a 2001 development agreement that included city money to redevelop the property.

“All you have to do is drive by and see it and you’ll see it suffers from even the most basic maintenance issues,” said South Milwaukee mayor Erik Brooks. “We’re at the point now where we’re not going to take that.” …

Brooks said ideally the court action will compel compliance with the city’s orders, but he added that if property owners do not want to invest they could at least sell to someone who will. He added that South Milwaukee has increased its emphasis on code enforcement and he’s willing to continue taking legal action if necessary.

“I don’t want to overuse this tool,” he said before adding the city has “certainly been more willing than ever to step up and take this step.”

Brooks also acknowledged the city has to work to find the right owners for properties and to provide tools and incentives to those who do want to invest in what they own. “You’re not going to redevelop your city based on punitive measures alone,” he said.

4 Comments

Filed under South Milwaukee

4 responses to “Holding Property Owners Accountable: City Goes to Court on Sunrise Plaza

  1. Melissa Klein-Erickson

    Thanks for overall taking on these politics from the prepolotics and your continued support as our Mayor! New to the blog as far as following and I justed wanted to say thank you!

  2. Stuart Schenk

    Great news, Erik. My wife and I frequently visit the Sunrise restaurant and have noticed the gradual demise of this area. It has also affected the restaurants business we noticed as well. I hope something can also be done with duplexes and multi-family homes in the area that are owned by absentee landlords. It’s a disgrace to see how they have been able to turn some of our neighborhoods into less than desirable areas to raise a family. There should be an ordinance requiring landlords to occupy the buildings they rent and at the same time make sure they are maintained. Absentee landlords have one thing in mind and that’s to make a profit and nothing else and to hell with the city and neighborhoods.

    Thanks Erik for taking the owner of Sunrise Properties to court. I don’t understand why this couldn’t have been done sooner.

  3. S. Urbaniak

    I thought the property was sold to a Florida firm 2-3 years ago with local management by Siegal Gallagher. At the time of purchase, your blog noted that they would improve the property and lease out the vacant spaces. What happened with that?

    • Indeed, it was. And they made some investments, and signed Ace to a long-term lease. Ace made its own upgrades too. The owners tried to lease vacant spaces but I’m not sure how hard they tried. Then they sold the center at auction to the highest bidder — the current problem owner. Lesson learned — don’t trust distressed debt firms. The ownership situation of this center has been incredibly frustrating for over a decade now. It may take a new owner to solve this. In the meantime, we will step up to hold owners like this accountable.

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