Dave Reid

Has the Clock Run Out for the Sydney Hih?

The historic Sydney Hih building, which city officials had intended to tear down, may have been saved for another day, due to a legalistic maneuver by alderman and attorney Bob Baumann at a Tuesday meeting of the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee.

By - May 15th, 2012 05:29 pm
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Sydney Hih

Sydney Hih

The historic Sydney Hih building, which city officials had intended to tear down, may have been saved for another day, due to a legalistic maneuver by alderman and attorney Bob Baumann at a Tuesday meeting of the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee.

As part of a joint city-county effort to bring Kohl’s corporate headquarters to downtown Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp., an affiliate of the City of Milwaukee, had quietly purchased the Sidney Hih, in order to ensure site control for the project. But Kohl’s decided not to move Downtown, and no other viable project has arisen for the site, yet the City recently issued an order to raze the Sydney Hih, seemingly sealing its fate.

So things stood when the Zoning committee took up the issue of an “obsolete” file (091436) that normally would have been summarily dismissed. The file was a citizen’s request to save the Sidney Hih, filed back in February, 2009, and approved by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

Jim Owczarski, City of Milwaukee Clerk, explained that the historic preservation ordinance required the council to act within two years of an application for preservation, and that the two years had already passed, making the file obsolete, and eliminating that impediment to razing the Sidney Hih. But Alderman Bauman objected, noting that the Zoning committee had acted to hold the file back in the Spring of 2010, which effectively “tolled” the process and stopped the clock from continuing to run on the historic preservation proposal.

Given the differing viewpoints on the status of the file being offered by the City Clerk and Bauman, Ald. Michael Murphy made a motion to hold the file, keeping the issue open. The committee approved the motion.

Frankly, by the time the Committee concluded its business the status of the file, and the Sydney Hih wasn’t entirely clear.

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3 thoughts on “Has the Clock Run Out for the Sydney Hih?”

  1. CJ says:

    What’s the condition of the building? Is it worth saving?

  2. Lionel Stansyck says:

    I love that building. I’m not going to bend over backwards to save it, however, especially if it increases the liklihood that something quality will be built there. Still shaking my head about Kohl’s.

  3. o0syn says:

    The building has fire damage that still may need to be torn out in the first tower from a fire in 2005 the last time it was occupied. Since then it has been empty rumored to have a mice, cockroach, and snakes loose inside, as well as asbestos of course. Structurally the building is fine just the interior needs an almost total gutting. The historical significance of this building is growing by the day as more information is brought to light. To me it is definitely worth saving.

    Join our efforts to save the building!
    facebook.com/SydneyHih

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