By Roger Utnehmer
The City of Sturgeon Bay responded to the announcement Friday that developer Bob Papke is pulling the plug on his proposed west side hotel and suing the city for more than $500,000 plus attorney fees.
In a press release, Mayor Thad Birmingham said he was surprised by Papke’s actions and predicted the issues “will get resolved.” Birmingham said that the “waterfront parkway and other improvements will be completed.”
Waterfront Redevelopment Authority Chair Tom Herlache said nearly thirty years of effort are evident in downtown Sturgeon Bay. He also said, “The west side waterfront redevelopment project is the last piece of the effort.”
The entire press release from the City of Sturgeon Bay is available below.
Sturgeon Bay, WI) The City of Sturgeon Bay has been served with a notice of circumstances of claim by Attorneys representing Robert Papke, developer of the proposed Sawyer Hotel in Sturgeon Bay. The City had been aware of his concerns and dissatisfaction and was working on a resolution to them, and frankly I am surprised by his press release”, said Mayor Birmingham. The City is reviewing Mr. Papke’s claim and will take appropriate action.
The City and Mr. Papke have worked very closely throughout the project to resolve title matters and was looking forward to completing the hotel. Since 2014 the City and Mr. Papke have worked together to create the economic reinvestment that in turn would generate the cash necessary to create more and better public space and public attractions. The hotel was one part of a comprehensive effort to reinvest in the west waterfront. However, the hotel and public aspects have been delayed by a lawsuit challenging the redevelopment project and title to lands.
The West Waterfront Redevelopment Project has been reviewed, shared and approved by multiple state agencies, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Administration.
For nearly 30 years, the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority of the City of Sturgeon Bay has been working to eliminate blight, invigorate and stimulate retail activity, and bring people to the Sturgeon Bay waterfront. Waterfront Redevelopment Authority Chair Tom Herlache said “The fruits of this labor are quite evident in downtown Sturgeon Bay with thousands of people enjoying the improved waterfront every year. The West Waterfront Redevelopment Project is the last piece of the effort.”
Birmingham added “The residents and small business owners, including many who are sole proprietors deserve to have the opportunity to thrive and grow. The residents of the whole City and especially those on the West Side, deserve to have a completed waterfront parkway and the recreational opportunities it presents without seeing their property taxes rise substantially. The City will continue its efforts, the title issues will get resolved, and the waterfront parkway and other improvements will be completed. ”