Home / Commercial Construction / Milwaukee Common Council: Sydney Hih’s days are numbered (UPDATE)

Milwaukee Common Council: Sydney Hih’s days are numbered (UPDATE)

The Sydney Hih building stands vacant Tuesday on West Juneau Avenue at North 4th Street in Milwaukee. The Common Council has rescinded the building’s interim historical designation. (File photo by Kevin Harnack)

By Kirsten Klahn

Milwaukee’s Common Council on Tuesday reversed the Historic Preservation Committee’s decision that gave Sydney Hih an interim historic designation.

Common Council was revisiting the Sydney Hih resolution because of a motion to reconsider Alderman Robert Bauman made at the last Common Council meeting. Common Council approved that motion, saving Sydney Hih from demolition for a few more weeks.

The Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. asked for the appeal after three residents petitioned the city’s HPC to designate the building historic. The HPC granted Sydney Hih interim historic designation on June 7 and the building was listed as historic for 180 days.

Sydney Hih is four connected buildings at the corner of North Old World 3rd Street and West Juneau Avenue. The MEDC, an affiliate of the Department of City Development, purchased Sydney Hih when the city was attempting to get Kohl’s Corp. to build its headquarters on the Park East property in Milwaukee.

On April 19, the Department of Neighborhood Services issued a raze order for Sydney Hih. The interim designation postponed the MEDC’s plans to raze the buildings.

But buildings shouldn’t be razed when there isn’t any future development lined up for the lot, said Alderman Nik Kovac, who opposed the council’s decision to take away Sydney Hih’s historic designation.

Kovac said his vote would be different if there was a proposal for Sydney Hih’s lot. There isn’t though, he said.

“A gravel lot is not my preference,” Kovac said.

Alderwoman Milele Coggs, who represents the district Sydney Hih is in, said she firmly believes the building is a detriment to her district and needs to be demolished.

Coggs also has said Sydney Hih is preventing further development in Park East.

“It’s three weeks later and we are exactly where we were three weeks ago,” Coggs said. “I will reiterate what I said then, now. I will urge my colleagues to support the appeal.”

Thirteen committee members agreed with Coggs and voted to take away the designation. MEDC can now raze Sydney Hih at any time.

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