Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Crowley Signs Off On Greendale Barn Restoration

A property on Loomis Road once identified for demolition will be redeveloped for events, Airbnb-style rentals.

By - Oct 26th, 2023 11:08 am

Stelzer Barn. Photo by Milwaukee County Parks.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley signed off on a deal Monday that will lead to the redevelopment of a historic barn in Greendale.

For the past 10 years, the historic Stelzer Barn and Dairy House have sat vacant. The property sits near the intersection of W. Loomis Road and S. Root River Parkway and was acquired by the county roughly a century ago during the construction of the Root River Parkway.

A local entrepreneur, Virginia Emmons, has worked out a deal with the county to rehabilitate and lease the historic buildings. Emmons and her husband plan to use the property for commercial activities, including events and short-term rentals, and, potentially, a bicycle shop, given the proximity to the Oak Leaf Trail. However, future uses will need to be approved by the county and secure zoning approval from the Village of Greendale.

Prior to the deal, Milwaukee County Parks had identified the dilapidated buildings for demolition. Now, Emmons, doing business as Two Weathervanes LLC, will make at least $750,000 worth of repairs to the buildings. Under the deal with the county, once the business has recouped its investment, it will pay 15% of its annual revenue as a lease, with half of that set aside for maintenance. Public access to the grounds surrounding the buildings will also be maintained for at least eight hours a day.

“I’m excited about preserving the history and heritage that these buildings represent while also creating a new and exciting community space for the public to enjoy,” area Supervisor Kathleen Vincent said in a statement. “As a longtime Greendale resident myself, it’s particularly inspiring to see fellow longtime resident and local business owner, Virginia Emmons of Two Weathervanes LLC, take the lead in restoring these historical structures.”

The Stelzer farm was one of the properties purchased by the federal government in the 1930s to establish the Village of Greendale. It was part of the Greenbelt Towns program created by the New Deal. Since then, the 5,180-square-foot barn and 1,650-square-foot outbuilding have been utilized for a variety of purposes, including a youth hostel.

Emmons previously said preserving the history of the site is an “imperative” and that her family has experience with historic preservation work. Specifically, she said they have worked on the Pabst Mansion and the Riverside Theater.

The county executive’s office noted that the project is in line with the Crowley administration’s policy goal of “preserving historic buildings and returning them to productive use in the community.”

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Categories: MKE County, Real Estate

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