Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Deal Would Fix Leaning Stone Creek Wall

New tenant could replace Stone Creek Coffee at busy Bay View intersection.

By - Jan 11th, 2022 12:58 pm
2266-2268 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in November 2021. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

2266-2268 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in November 2021. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A deal is in place to replace a worrisome, leaning wall on a Bay View building and, according to Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, a new tenant has been found for a prime commercial storefront.

Stone Creek Coffee closed its cafe, 2266 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., on Dec. 5 as a result of a dispute over who was responsible for repairing the two-story building’s failing south wall.

And while developer Scott Genke, who acquired the building in March, is working to resolve the wall situation, he told Urban Milwaukee that no formal lease has been signed.

“We are working with a future tenant,” said Genke in an interview.

The issue between Genke’s SG Property Development + Management and Stone Creek was more complicated than most landlord-tenant disputes. For starters, the wall wasn’t actually the property of either entity.

The building where Stone Creek was located was built later than nearby buildings, in 1920, and “was slid in between two existing buildings, so it was not even possible for that building to create a finished exterior wall,” said Department of City Development real estate analyst Yves LaPierre to members of the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee on Tuesday morning. Instead the newer building shared the wall of the older building to the south, creating a “party wall” which now stands out from the remaining building it is attached to (it is colored tan, versus the brown brick of the former Stone Creek cafe).

The party wall remained after the building south of the cafe building was demolished in 1970, with the city taking ownership of the triangular parcel. In 2003, when the cafe opened, Stone Creek leased the vacant lot and reconfigured it as a plaza for its patrons. The coffee purveyor also added a steel awning to the wall. In 2011 a nearly business owner noticed that the wall had moved, but city records indicate no substantial action was taken.

Stone Creek owner Eric Resch noticed the wall had further separated from the structure in 2021, but was unable to reach a deal with Genke on repairing the wall. A fence went up around the plaza and Stone Creek announced it was leaving.

The City Attorney has previously issued a written opinion that because the wall was left for the sole benefit of the still-standing building, the city does not need to bear the cost of repairing it.

Now the city is going to remove any lingering uncertainty by selling two linear feet of its property to Genke for $1. A six-foot easement will be included to allow for access.

Genke’s firm will also directly lease the plaza, instead of the tenant. A 25-year lease is proposed for $50 per month, with a $25 monthly increase imposed every five years. Public access must be allowed, and the developer must maintain the improvements and landscaping. The plaza currently contains a handful of trees, a fountain and a series of benches.

“I don’t love this agreement, but I think all parties aren’t getting exactly what they wanted and sometimes that proves to be a compromise,” said Dimitrijevic.

The zoning committee unanimously endorsed the proposal. The full council is slated to approve it on Jan. 18.

SG Property already has a permit pending to build a new wall.

Geoff’s Construction, which recently completed work on Genke’s BV+ development, would build the new wall. The permit request lists an estimated cost of $90,000. An affiliate of SG paid $400,000 for the 2,838-square-foot building, which also includes an apartment on the second floor.

Genke has executed a number of other projects in the neighborhood in recent years. In 2016, he redeveloped the King Building into the King Lofts, 2534 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. In 2019, he purchased and renovated 2870 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., ultimately landing Ormson Supply Co. as a tenant. In 2021, his firm completed the development of the 18-unit BV+ building and renovated the adjacent Bay View Building, 2569-2573 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Honeypie and Nonfiction Natural Wines are anchor commercial tenants. Now he’s pursuing the development of an apartment building at 2860 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., the former American Legion site.


One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Deal Would Fix Leaning Stone Creek Wall”

  1. danlarsen7007 says:

    >“I don’t love this agreement, but I think all parties aren’t getting exactly what they wanted and sometimes that proves to be a compromise,” said Dimitrijevic.<

    Which usually means it's good for the community.

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