Dave Reid

City to Use Eminent Domain?

By - Jun 11th, 2009 12:24 pm

This meeting had a couple of topics of particular interest, the use of eminent domain, and TIF policy.

The first file of interest involved the possibility of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee utilizing eminent domain to acquire two properties and convey them to Pete’s Marketplace, Inc. which would expand its facilities and add between 30 and 40 new employees.  Alderman Michael Murphy expressed his concern over the City of Milwaukee taking such an action saying “I’m very reluctant to support the use of eminent domain.”  Despite offers of $275,000 for the vacant lots, at 1443 and 1445-47 S. Muskego Ave., the properties were recently appraised at approximately $15,000, because the owners, the Cetina family, had over the time they’d owned the property been required to demolish the existing buildings on the site due to their conditions.  The Cetina family had attempted to construct a new building for the purpose of opening a restaurant or nightclub, but neighborhood opposition stopped them from obtaining a liquor license.  This file was approved and will now go before the full Common Council.

There was also a communications file reporting about activities related to the City of Milwaukee’s Tax Incremental Financing Districts.  The report predicted that in 2010 the city could close three more districts, unless they are extended, including district 56 which is notably “extremely lucrative,” and five districts appear they could be closed in 2011.  It also showed that districts 20 and 21 are currently under-performing and will need to receive donations.  Finally, it also pointed out that in 2008 there was $1.2 billion in increment which represents 3.7% city’s total equalized value of $32.3 billion.

During this discussion Alderman Bob Bauman seemed to argue that city needs to utilize TIF more often and with more projects during this downturn when he asked “what precisely are we doing to prime the pump?”  He brought up New Land Enterprises’ proposed building at N. Van Buren St. and E. Kilbourn Ave. and expressed his concern over the Department of City Development not pushing projects that request TIF funds.   Specifically, he said we have “put a big bucket of cold water on the project behind closed doors,” and added that “if you don’t bring the project forward we can’t have the debate.  Jim Scherer, of DCD , responded that “my concern with it, was that it had no equity in it at all.”  Alderman Murphy agreed expressing that “if nobody has any skin in the game there is no reason to have them as a partner.”

Categories: Real Estate

2 thoughts on “City to Use Eminent Domain?”


    Why do you continue to do business with boris gohkman! He is basically a dishonest person. We pay our taxes for city services. Not to help developers make more money. I admit i dont understand the tif, but i am sure it benefits the developer instead of the taxpayer. We dont need any more condos.

    NOTE This comment was edited, because it was in all UPPERCASE.

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @ANN “Why do you continue to do business with boris gohkman!” I’m not sure what business you’d be referring to but we haven’t done any business with boris. As far as the city goes and TIFs and such, generally the idea is to get development (new taxbase) built to help pay for those services in the future. Which I believe comes out to about $6 created of new tax base for every $1 in TIF, generally good. The project in question at the June 10th, 2009 meeting was the Bookends, which as of yet hasn’t gotten approved, and is not condos, it is apartments.

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