Historic Court House: Museum & Apartments?

Historic Court House: Museum & Apartments?

Postby From the News » Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:12 am

From the FREEMAN:

Apartment project proposed for museum

• Interim museum director: ‘We now have a future’

• Plan includes 42 luxury apartments, underground parking

• Former jail & connector buildings would be demolished

Huelsmans’ company wants to purchase historic building


====================================================

From WaukeshaNOW:

New downtown apartment complex part of plan to save Waukesha County Museum
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Old Court house: Museum & Apartments?

Postby Tom Hekkers » Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:20 am

Now this is what I call a "thinking outside of the box" solution to the museum dilemma.

- It saves the old courthouse from the wrecking ball :D
- Provides a long term home for the Waukesha County Museum
- Provides another event facility in the "Historic Downtown"
- Provides 42 "Luxury" apartments
- Provides needed onsite parking
- Increases tax base by putting tax exempt property back on the tax roll
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Re: Old Court house: Museum & Apartments?

Postby Victoria » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:00 am

Sorry, although the idea of a development at the museum site is appealing, these are the wrong developers to do it. A disclaimer here, I like Catherine Huelsman. She is smart, she is articulate and she is funny. She cares about our downtown and the city.

Berg Management is the manager of many of the historic buildings in the downtown. They are maintained and that is about it... maintained! The historic property that houses Generations, has a second floor with sheets for curtains, collapsing dirty disheveled blinds and a litany of plumbing and tenant issues. The building next door has had torn dirty construction paper blocking the windows for over a year now. This list of problems with these historic buildings is endless. Come on downtown and see for yourself.

I have heard for years that Berg Management can't reinvest in these buildings because of the heavy overhead. I think we all know that it is fun to "think out of the box". It is fun to build and create but the maintenance can be overwhelming and costly. Berg Management doesn't sell much of anything. They buy it, they remodel in at a minimum and then they sit on it. Their tenants have improved over the past 5 years with Catherine at the helm but with a project as big as this, we need someone who believes the maintenance, the tenants and the reinvestment in the property is as important as the build out.

If we are going to sell our museum for a dollar, then we should put it out for bid. Perhaps the costs of that remodel can only be recouped through development of moderate apartments. Let's not allow the building to be "chopped up" and turned into yet another historic building that is barely maintained because the owner doesn't have the money to reinvest in it.

Sorry Berg Management, thank you for the offer but this is a special very important project and it needs a very special experienced developer with deep pockets.
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Re: Old Court house: Museum & Apartments?

Postby TheAntiPowell » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:00 am

Now that is exciting news! We might even move back to Waukesha to live in a building like that.
But NOT if the developer is Berg Management!
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Re: Old Court house: Museum & Apartments?

Postby Erik » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:48 pm

Keep in mind that the museum did not explore all their options with this. If they had actually put out an open RFP looking at all possibilities for the building, advertised that they were selling the building, and also gone to planning staff at the city, they would have had better proposals on this. They also should have put requirements on the RFP that the 1885 courthouse and jail building be kept. To Berg, this is not about saving an old building, it is purely business ($$$). If that was the case, they would have kept both the jail and courthouse, as the jail predates the courthouse.

Honestly, the museum should have reached out to the public to let them know of their dire situation. Money would have flowed in, changes for the positive would have been made, and they would be able keep the building under their name. The museum unfortunately thought that no one would care about this.
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Re: Old Court house: Museum & Apartments?

Postby Victoria » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:16 am

Rumor has it that the museum board of directors did send out an RFP..to a selected few developers. Was the RFP for building apartments or about the long term survival of the museum?

Rumor also has it that a former business partner of the Huelsman's is on the museum board of directors. Was he directly involved in developing the RFP and sending it to only chosen developers?

Generally, when sending out an RFP (request for proposal) you send it out to as many developers as you can and especially those with expertise in the area you are looking for.
Hopefully, it was sent to company's with national exposure so that our downtown and our city will have something in their midst that will be a shining example for all to see.

Did the proposal go out to national company's or did the deal go down with local developers only? If only local company's were sent the proposal then only local company's will respond and of course, only local company's will get the job. Let's have a little transparency here and let's
make sure we get what's in the best long term interest of our city.

If the museum is sold for a dollar then the proposal had damn well better have went out to the best of the best!

We have enough shabby historic buildings in our downtown already.
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Re: Old Court house: Museum & Apartments?

Postby Victoria » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:24 pm

My oh My..

Looks who is on the State Historical Society Board of Curator Members.
(They are supposed to have the final say on what happens with our Museum)

http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Content ... s=R:CS3555
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Re: Old Court House: Museum & Apartments?

Postby From the News » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:13 am

From The FREEMAN:

Developer hopes to save jail at museum

Museum to suspend operations in May due to construction, reduced cash flow


Museum officials spoke with six potential developers before selecting Historic Prairieville as the developer, Constable said. “The action we took wasn’t capricious."
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Re: Old Court House: Museum & Apartments?

Postby Victoria » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:31 am

That's not what I heard. A few Museum board members chose a local developer that a few of them have a relationship with.

They make it sound like this is a done deal. It is not. It is simply another way for a local developer to try to jam more tired apartments (masqueraded as luxury) down our throats. If this developer really wants to help the central city, then they can invest some of their money into their current vacant tired "historic" buildings.

This is just a joke and it's about time our mayor stands up and says "Enough". It's like telling your kids to go clean their rooms before they can go out and play.
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Re: Old Court House: Museum & Apartments?

Postby Victoria » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:09 am

Museum Board of Directors - Just in case you wanted to know

Charles Byle
Tim Anderson
Vicki Kaminski
Jesse Alba
Diane Byrne
Dennis Cerreta
Tom Constable
Eric Delzer
Patricia Haukohl
William Koehnlein
John Schoenknecht
James Taugher
Sheldon Watkins
Gilbert Yerke
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Re: Old Court House: Museum & Apartments?

Postby Victoria » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:29 pm

I received an interesting call this morning from a developer who wanted to share his experience with Tom Constable from the museum board. It appears that this developer wanted to have the opportunity to make a proposal to the museum board for the museum building. This proposal was to include the whole corner which currently houses Ace Hardware. Tom C would not return any calls and had to be "hunted down like a dog" only to have Tom C deny that the museum was for sale or any proposals were being made available to anyone.

The developer waited until September and called back only to find out that there was a letter of intent in place, from a local developer who had little experience in historic renovations. Once again, this is puzzling and is so scary that it continues to happen in Waukesha. Lack of transparency and behind the scenes deals that benefit a private party at the expense of the entire city. I certainly hope that the Landmarks committee, the plan commission and the common council stop this whole thing before it gets any legs. On that note, I would really appreciate it if the Freeman would stop reporting things as if they were facts when they have to go through three and four committees before approval. If you read the Freeman and believe it, you would think it is a done deal before it has even reached the first committee.

Sigh, I guess I will be kicked off of the island forever now and will never be invited to the annual Christmas party again. :)
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Re: Old Court House: Museum & Apartments?

Postby From the News » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:10 am

From WaukeshaNOW:

Waukesha County Museum will temporarily suspend its operations as part of new plan

Developer has also made commitment to preserve old jail building
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Re: Old Court House: Museum & Apartments?

Postby From the News » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:32 pm

From the News
 
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Re: Old Court House: Museum & Apartments?

Postby Victoria » Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:44 pm

From Mr. Constable...
Six potential developers, including those experienced in restoring historic buildings, were invited to present proposals. We solicited creative proposals which would provide adequate space for the museum and significantly reduce building operating expenses. Of the six invitees, one potential purchaser who had toured the facilities previously was no longer interested. The next three toured the facilities and decided not to submit proposals. The two remaining developers submitted very appropriate proposals.Each was carefully analyzed. The board selected the proposal that provided the best approach for the museum while preserving the original 1893 courthouse. That proposal was with Historic Prairieville Limited Partnership.

Come on buddy, no one will believe this muck. We all know what you did and didn't do! Just reading this nonsense makes one sick.. What's next? A creative agreement between Historic Prairieville Limited Partnership and a yet un-named catering service. Nice try guys!
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Re: Old Court House: Museum & Apartments?

Postby Victoria » Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:07 am

In a nutshell, the County passes a County problem to a non-profit entity. The non-profit entity passes the County problem to their friend, a private developer. The private developer gains (at no cost) a stunning historic building in need of maintenance, one square block of prime city property and a place to build more un-needed downtown apartments. The City gets tax dollars and the downtown is screwed with a wealthy landlord who has a host of neglected, vacant spaces in historic buildings that suffer from a lack of maintenance and repairs..and of course, more downtown apartments!

I think that about sums it up..
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