Milwaukee Aldermen Kovac, Donovan comment on Sydney Hih demolition vote
Lacey Crisp reports Video by 620wtmj.comvideo
the Sydney Hih building at the corner of Juneau and Third Street was at one-time a multi-colored building that once served as an incubator for counter culture, including bands and artists, but was recently painted beige and is currently up for sale. Some of those who rent space inside the building are fearful that if it is sold, they will lose their studio space where noise and creativity were never discouraged. "This is like our refuge almost," says Test Pilot guitarist Brian Niggemann, 21. "Everyone thinks we live here." Image by David Joles
MILWAUKEE- Milwaukee's Common Council voted Tuesday not to reconsider historic designation for the Sydney Hih, a complex of 19th century buildings in the Park East area.
The 13-2 vote allows a city appeal of the designation to stand -- paving the way for demolition of the four-building complex at Old World 3rd and Juneau Avenue.
Alderman Nik Kovac was one of the two "no" votes on Tuesday.
"It clearly is a historic building and has a one hundred and thirty year history in this city; it was an original part of Kilbourn Town in the west side of the river," said Alderman Kovac to Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure."
Aldermen who voted "yes" argue the complex is too deteriorated to preserve.
That doesn't sit well with Alderman Kovac. "People like variety...once you tear down old buildings, you can't build them again."
The 136-year-old building has been saved more than once, but if the common council members get their way, it will soon be an empty lot.
However, Alderman Bob Donovan argues by tearing down this building, it opens up this space for new development, possibly room for a new arena.
"Hopefully it will help us make this a much more developable property by removing it and tearing it down," said Donovan. "I'm not opposed to looking at that area for a new basketball arena, a new Bradley Center, if you will."
Mayor Barrett supports the decision to tear this down and open it up for redevelopment.
"These buildings are kind of the very last remnants of that part of our city," noted Mary Louise Schumacher of the Journal Sentinel to "Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure."
The main building went up in 1876 and for the nearly 70 years it was the West Side Bank, before taking on the Sydney Hih name.
Schumacher said the more recent legacy, which started in 1972, served as an incubator for artists. The building and three connecting structures was commonplace for artists, musicians, boutique owners and artisans -- with Nirvana playing there.
The Sydney Hih building had been vacant the past decade.