Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

How much will it really take to fix Sunset Homes?


As we learned during the debate at the Common Council, the condo association was able to secure a private loan for $500,000 but decided against it, calling the amount, “a band-aid.” If the $500,000 is only a band-aid, then the proposed $1.6 million loan is a thin gauze pad trying to deal with an amputation. As I report in tomorrow’s Waukesha Freeman, Waukesha County allowed City Planner Jennifer Andrews to move over $200,000 in community development block grant money to loan to Sunset Homes residents for windows and doors (on top of the other loan from the city). But even $1.8 million is not enough.

An open records request revealed a report by the general contractor, The Scherrer Group, puts the cost of fixing Sunset Homes at nearly $3.8 million. The entire condominium project is only worth $6 million. At some point wouldn’t the city be better off just encouraging the current owners to sell out to a developer that could put up something entirely new on the site?

Even with $3.8 million, The Scherrer Group says that amount cannot fix everything at Sunset Homes.

As with all projects, there is a budget that we are designing to and building under, so we will not be able to address every deficiency in the buildings. There are many conditions in these buildings that will not be addressed by the proposed work and it is impossible for the architectures or contractors that do this work to correct every existing building deficiency.

The Scherrer Group doesn’t even get to the roof repairs before $1.3 million is gone.
repair items
Just the building exterior improvements will cost $2.3 million. Given the scope and costs of the repairs, how will $1.6 million be sufficient to raise the values of these condos to make the investment worthwhile? These condos will never be at full value again.
Aldermen should fear that the money they plan to loan Sunset Homes will only be enough for superficial repairs allowing the owners to pass these condos onto unsuspecting buyers. As one developer told me today when I showed him these numbers, “They’re not even putting lipstick on the pig.”

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