NoBaysideSkyscraper.com was originally setup to educate the Milwaukee suburbs about Cobalt Partners plans to build one of the tallest skyscrapers in Wisconsin in our tiny Village of Bayside, and the fact that they were requesting $43 million in financing from our village via a Tax increment financing(TIF) scheme.
The proposal was in clear violation of the MUNICIPAL CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF BAYSIDE, WISCONSIN, which limits building heights to 3 stories or 35 feet.
After a Public Hearing, the Bayside Community Development Authority “asked the developer to reconsider the submission, taking into consideration comments by village residents.”
We thought the fight was over, but in response, the developer Scott Yauck told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Village officials haven’t asked him to drop the high-rise portion. We’re certainly open to their concerns, but we’re not willing to create a project that’s compromised and cannot succeed.” Ironically, this was our thoughts about the original proposal.
In 2018 the Bayside Village Board temporarily tabled development plans for a skyscraper complex after hundreds of residents and concerned citizens throughout the Northshore raised objections both to the scale of the project and to the developer’s request for taxpayer funding via a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) scheme.
In recent weeks the Village Board and the developers revived this project. Re-zoning proposals that would expand height limits in the Village to 15 stories in order to accommodate a luxury apartment tower and other residential facilities, business and medical facilities, as well as a motel (referred to as a Hospitality Building), have been fast-tracked.
According to the developer, anchor buildings on the property will run 4, 5, 10, and 15 stories each.
Just prior to his re-election, Bayside Village Board President Sam Dickman went on record to assure taxpayers that a TIF was off the table. He claimed that the TIF was being used to give the Village “tools with which to negotiate with the developer,” and that no one who looked at the proposed TIF “with any degree of expertise would have assumed that it would have survived scrutiny.” (Note: this information is from a transcript taken from a live recording of the Village Trustee meeting on October 18, 2018 at Village Hall.)
So offering the developer more taxpayer dollars than what you are willing provide is a way to negotiate a lower amount?
Now that he and other members of the Board have been re-elected, the trustees are stonewalling residents on questions about how the project will be funded and whether or not taxpayers will be expected to pay for it.
Many other questions and concerns about the project remain:
- Why are Village Trustees putting the cart before the horse, insisting on fast-tracking a radical re-zoning proposal to accommodate this development before Bayside residents even know how it will be funded and if they are expected to foot the bill?
- Who approved the ten-year tax assessment freeze for the existing buildings on the development site, during which time lack of maintenance and improvements on the buildings have reduced their assessed value from over $7 to $4 million, a 40% decrease in value?
- Were the existing buildings intentionally neglected in order to give the owners and developers a case for requesting a taxpayer-funded TIF, which are intended to be reserved for blighted properties?
- How much tax revenue has the Village of Bayside and our school districts already lost due to the decade-long depreciation of the existing buildings on the property?
- Why did the Village Board refer the largest property owner Bill LaMacchia to the developer Scott Yauck?
- How much of Bayside residents tax dollars is being spent by the village with the law firm Godfrey and Kahn to fast-track this process instead of Village services?
- Who thinks a four-story hospitality building (i.e. Extended Stay motel) is a good idea considering the crime increase experienced by Glendale and other communities?
- Why would the Village Board consider a zoning change to allow 15-story buildings when the owner and developer do not have the financial resources to improve the existing property without taxpayer assistance?
Two successful and healthy North Shore communities, Fox Point and Whitefish Bay rejected buildings higher than 3-stories.
Note: The developer Scott Yauck is on the Fox Point Plan Commission
- Does building office space in Bayside make financial sense with a TIF given the glut of empty office buildings in Brown Deer and other suburbs especially when companies are moving to downtown Milwaukee to retain and attract a talented workforce?
” ‘We’re sort of deluding ourselves if we somehow could create the energy that you could get down here — we’re on the river, we’re on Water Street — that we could recreate that energy in the ’burbs.’ … There really was no comparison.”
“We want to make sure we’re offering (employees) an exciting location to work, an exciting location to stay,”
- Will this development become Bayside’s Foxconn?
“The public was not allowed to read the development agreement between Mount Pleasant and Foxconn until it was approved by the Village Board in late November 2017, and Trustees who met in closed session negotiation meetings were prohibited from discussing the details with residents.”
- Parking garages and retail are a recipe for this (both are TIF funded developments)
- Realtors say metro Milwaukee needs more new houses and condos, NOT APARTMENTS
- Deja vu – Similar development proposed by Scott Yauck to Mequon in 2011 – Declined
“Without the TIF, he said the project would likely not go forward”
“Yauck said both the expansion of Port Washington Road and the visibility from Interstate 43 make for a prime location”
- Kenilworth IL has a reputation as being the wealthiest and the most exclusive community in the Midwest
- An ambitious plan for pricey attached homes has fizzled, leaving part of the suburb’s downtown with a black eye – A multimillion-dollar miscalculation in Winnetka IL
Under the terms of a TIF, any revenue from the development will be paid first to the developer, while the Village residents will not begin to receive any tax revenue that may remain for up to the maximum TIF timeframe of 27-years.
Apart from the fact that TIFs deprive other local governments like school districts of future tax revenues, another concern is whether TIFs are worth the cost. It’s difficult to prove whether or not a company would have invested in a TIF district without city incentives or determine the real return on investment for taxpayers.
And developers who receive TIF subsidies are rarely, if ever, held accountable for delivering the benefits they promise.
The proposed 15% payment to the Village can only be used in the TIF district and will not will provide any property tax relief (if ever – ask Glendale residents about the Bayshore TIF) until the TIF is repaid in full.
With no revenue from the development and existing property tax assessments in the TIF area frozen for up to 27-years, how will Bayside and surrounding communities afford to pay the increase in shared police, fire, infrastructure, school districts and other costs during that time?
Here’s what the Milwaukee Journal said about the August 6th Plan Commission Meeting
Project Zoning Submittal – Updated 8/1
Remember – the developer wants your financial assistance for their financial gain
Plan Commission Members
Other than Sam Dickman and Robb DeGraff, the members
are appointed by the Village Trustee senior members
- Samuel Dickman, Chair
- Robb DeGraff
- Edward Harris
- Jeff Jubelirer
- John Krampf
- Ari Friedman
- Marisa Roberts – Chair of A.R.C.
The following correspondence was sent to each Village Trustee from a Bayside resident who gave us permission to publish it here:
I am writing to advise you of my opposition to the rezoning request for the parcel bordering Port Washington and Brown Deer Roads. Cobalt Development has publicized a vague plan which the board seems to be acting upon as the basis of this rezoning. Very few people with whom I’ve spoken in our Village believe that it makes sense to build (the only defined element of the plan) a luxury residential high rise on the property. More than a half dozen towers are now proposed or under construction downtown, which is clearly the preferred choice for retirees and young people. Nice looking low rise townhouses, which would be a better fit for Bayside, are being built in Fox Point. The South Shore of Milwaukee (St Francis, etc) along the lake has similar low rise developments which combine the natural setting of the lake, with beautifully landscaped grounds, in-ground pools, and athletic facilities, all of which are more desirable than a tower next to a highway in a community with no side walks. Nor does there seem to be much rationale for the five story zoning.
All of this is postulated on a development that has insufficient equity to be built without a investment from Bayside taxpayers in the form of a TIF (which is really intended for public infrastructure). Why would we ever assume this can appreciate in value to the point where that money would be paid off? We have, just down the road, a pretty clear example of what can go wrong. Twelve years after Glendale invested in the renovation of the Bayshore Mall the assessment has been REDUCED from $313 million dollars to $65 million, and Glendale has had to come up with another $37 million to induce AIG to pay off the $57 million remaining in the TIF. Now, they will demolish the mall, which should actually reduce the value further (but who’s talking about that?) and redevelop with similar uses proposed for our parcel, including more restaurants.
Glendale is stuck. We are not, yet. I say give Bayshore the Library (a much better fit) and go back to square one in Bayside. Sit on the parcel until a developer comes along with sufficient equity and a plan that the market will support. There are numerous vacant storefronts in Bayside. Why would we build more now?
I have had a long career in real estate development, and management, and I did not require taxpayer subsidies to shore up unmarketable space. Tenant improvements and rent inducements were offered to obtain and keep tenants. While that meant less income on a monthly basis, the properties did in fact appreciate in value dramatically when they were sold. Our investors made money after our debt was fully repaid. During downturns there was sufficient equity to cover unexpected risks. We are not investors or owners of these properties and there will be no upside for Bayside taxpayers.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your service to the Village of Bayside.
Your voice matters so please contact the Village Trustees and tell them NO to rezoning, NO to the TIF and NO to this development.
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Roundy’s Metro Market TIF Is Bad News for Shorewood Taxpayers
Apparently Roundy’s (now owned by Kroger) feels the increased assessed value they originally agreed to in the TIF isn’t correct now and filed an objection to the assessment with the Shorewood Board of Review.
“Until the TIF closes, taxpayers will be paying for the village services the store requires”
Remember the part that was mentioned in the Bayside TIF informational meeting where the developer/owner pays property taxes on the increased value of the TID until the TIF is paid off. And don’t forget we’re told the taxpayers are protected from any financial loss.
Substitute Cobalt Partners and Bayside, and well, you get the idea what you and your kids may be stuck with after this development is sold to investors.
Remember this when you hear Bayside Trustees tout a PAYGO TIF has no risk to taxpayers.
Max Dickman, Chairman for the Village of Bayside Zoning & Appeals committee and Sam Dickman’s son, who spoke in support of the 43M TIF for Cobalt Partners at the CDA meeting was previously the Real Estate Development Manager for Roundy’s.