BROWN DEER – After nearly a year of legal hearings, the village and neighboring Rite-Hite corporation have reached a resolution in the village’s eminent domain case.
After multiple out-of-court settlements, the village has agreed to pay Rite-Hite $1.37 million for the vacant 6.5-acre parcel sandwiched between the company’s headquarters, 8900 Arbon Drive, and the Brown Deer Village Hall/Police Department, 4800 W. Green Brook Drive.
The village acquired the property from Rite-Hite through eminent domain in January. In a settlement agreement, the village agreed to purchase the property for $1.25 million, a price determined by the Milwaukee County Condemnation Commission.
Rite-Hite appealed the $1.25 million agreement, providing an assessment that valued the property at $1.6 million. The village appraised the property at $1 million.
In a mediation hearing Nov. 3, Brown Deer agreed to pay an additional $120,000 on top of the original $1.25 million. The village board approved the additional $120,000 payment on Nov. 6.
Rite-Hite had previously filed a separate lawsuit challenging the village’s right to acquire the property. That lawsuit was resolved in April with the village’s promise to install a 6- to 8-foot berm along the southern boundary of the property.
The village also agreed the facility would be gated and accessed with a card, key fob or similar item.
Now that the village owns the property, Brown Deer Village Manager Michael Hall said he anticipates breaking ground on a new public works facility on the site in spring 2018.
The village’s existing public works building at 8717 N. 43rd St. was built in 1966 as a fire station, and was converted into a public works facility in the early 1990s. An analysis by Bray Architects determined the facility needs $1 million in renovations, not including the additional 2,302 square feet of space needed for truck storage.
Instead of making those repairs, village officials would prefer to build a new public works complex on the former Rite-Hite lot. The cost of constructing a new building is estimated at $5.4 million, which does not include the $1.37 million in land acquisition costs.
Village officials plan to sell the existing public works property on 43rd Street to a developer for $1. They say the public works facility is out of place with the restaurants and shops in the Original Village neighborhood, and that the area would be better served by a mixed-use building with apartments.
Hall said multiple companies are interested in redeveloping the public works property. He said village officials will probably start considering proposals from interested parties in 2018.
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