Who Owns What On Kinnickinnic?, Part 1

October 1, 2017

By Katherine Keller

It is certain more developers are looking for an opportunity to stake a claim in Bay View. South Kinnickinnic Avenue, Bay View’s Main Street, is a focal point.

A three-part report that takes a look at property ownership and value on Bay View’s Main Street

There is a building boom in Bay View. The flurry of development is concentrated on Kinnickinnic Avenue, with two exceptions. Those are the Hide House Lofts, 2615 S. Greeley, and the massive Stitchweld apartment complex just west of Kinnickinnic.

The recent burst of high-density housing in Bay View began in 2005 with the construction of Bay View Commons on the southwest corner of Becher Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. (The complex was later renamed Urban View.) There are 21 condominiums above the street-level retail units.

 

The recent burst of high-density housing in Bay View began in 2005 with the construction of Bay View Commons on the southwest corner of Becher Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. There are 21 condominiums above the street-level retail units. PHOTO Katherine Keller

In 2010, the Hide House Lofts were completed. Composed of 60 affordable-housing units, the north portion of an old industrial building was demolished to make way for the development.

The construction of the Dwell retail/apartments development on Kinnickinnic and Conway Street was completed in 2012. Seventy apartments perch above the street-level retail space. A small commercial building (Lone Feather), an apartment building that resembled row houses, and several homes were razed.

Scott Genke redeveloped the King Building, 2534 S. Kinnickinnic, last year, adding 14 apartments above the first story retail space.

This cottage is the oldest structure along the 2000-2400 stretch of South Kinnickinnic. City records indicate it was built in 1840. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The massive Stitchweld development occupies a triangular parcel bound by Ward Street, Robinson Avenue, and railroad tracks. While parts of the project are still under construction, the first of the 288 apartments are now occupied. A segment of the parcel was the site of the original Harnischfeger company, whose owners manufactured mining equipment and invented the electric crane. That building was razed, as well as several others, including two adjoined buildings that housed Sweet Water Organics aquaponics briefly, before it went out of business.

There are a number of dilapidated structures, such as these two buildings north of Café Lulu that might attract the attention of those looking for a place to build on KK. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The Vue is currently under construction at the southeast corner of Kinnickinnic Avenue and Ward Street on the site of the former Faust Music buildings. Prior to Faust, the buildings were the home of the Stollenwerk hardware store and warehouse. Vue will offer street-level retail and four stories above it that will house 69 apartments.

Another mixed-use development will be constructed on the former Hamburger Mary’s site on the southeast corner of Bay Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. The development will include first-story retail space and 144 apartments in the five stories above. The existing one-story building, once the site of a gas station that was succeeded by a series of hamburger restaurants, will be razed, as well as two duplexes and a cottage on Archer Avenue.

Including Vue, 666 new units have been added to Bay View’s housing stock since 2005.

What’s next?

It is certain more developers are looking for an opportunity to stake a claim in Bay View. Where?

The land and building that host the diminutive Tradewinds art supply store was assessed at $500 about 15-20 years ago, said owner Edward Herbert, Jr. It was assessed at $87,000 in 2017. PHOTO Katherine Keller

A site with good potential to be the next development is directly north of Hamburger Mary’s on the corner of Bay Street and Kinnickinnic. Currently, Oasis Coffee and Tradewinds are located there.

Catherine Rohde owns three parcels that border the east side of Kinnickinnic that are bounded by Stewart and Bay streets. She has placed her parcels on the market and said there’s interest in the property but there’s a hitch.

She doesn’t own the notch of land on the corner of Stewart and Kinnickinnic, where the Tradewinds art supply building resides. Edward Herbert, Jr. owns that parcel.

Rohde and Herbert are both willing to sell but to date haven’t received compelling offers. Selling both parcels is complicated because a buyer must negotiate with both Rohde and Herbert.

Rohde said she’s received offers that were enticing but Herbert’s minimum price quelled potential buyers’ enthusiasm.

Herbert agreed. He said there is active interest in his property and he’s willing to sell, but he hasn’t received “a decent offer.” Referencing the spike in property value on Kinnickinnic, he said, “Fifteen or 20 years ago my property was assessed at $500. Now it’s $90,000.”

Kinnickinnic Avenue possesses is an eclectic array of buildings — commercial and residential. There are 15 private homes in the 2000 – 2400 blocks of South Kinnickinnic. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Amazon is killing his retail art supply business so he’s prepared to sell. Herbert will not reestablish his business after he finds a buyer for his property.

The empty lots, 2557-2563 S. Kinnickinnic, adjacent to Alchemist Theatre, could be the site of another apartment development. The Journal Sentinel reported that Scott Genke of SK Property Development, LLC, purchased the empty lots in 2016 for $500,000. At that time each was assessed at $16,900. Last year Genke redeveloped the King Building, 2534 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., adding 14 apartments (King Lofts) above the street-level retail space.

What other properties might attract development?

The Backyard Bar property, 2159-2161 S. Kinnickinnic, is for sale. It consists of two buildings (one is set back on the lot) and a vacant lot.

The Backyard Bar property, 2159-2161 S. Kinnickinnic, is for sale. It consists of two buildings (one is set back on the lot) and a vacant lot.

Russell Chicks owns a swath of residential properties, 2131-2151 S. Kinnickinnic. They’re just south of the American Estates (antiques) building that was sold to KK 2133, LLC. Shirley Konopsky is the registered agent. She told the Compass that she is Tim Olson’s aunt. Olson owns numerous properties in Milwaukee.

The (former) Shogun Tattoo building, 2208-2210 is for sale. It abuts the Vue development.

There are two properties adjacent to Razor barbershop. One is vacant and there is a single, one-story building on the other that resembles an old machine shop or garage. City records indicate Leto owns his barbershop building and the empty lot. He is listed as the registered agent for the one-story building.

There are also a number of dilapidated structures such as the two buildings north of Café Lulu, the tiny little one-story building on the southwest corner of KK and Smith St. that might attract the attention of those looking for a place to build on KK.

This chart lists the ownership and assessed value of the properties located on the 2000 to 2400 blocks of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and a small section of South Howell Avenue. Addresses, built-dates, ownership, and assessment values were found in the City of Milwaukee Assessor’s records. Read Part 2 of this report.

 

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