Fire Chief Orders Granary Building Razed Within 30 Days

The City of Sturgeon Bay has been ordered to raze and remove the Granary building on the west waterfront by Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman. The order comes on the basis of an inspection by Dietman and city staff between Oct. 13 and Oct. 17.

“In order that the above premisses be made safe and not detrimental to the public health and safety, I do hereby direct and order you to raze the building described above and restore the site to a dust free and erosion free condition within 30 days from the date of service of this order upon you,” Dietman said in his raze order.

Dietman said the building’s dilapidated condition and location could endanger other buildings, persons, or property contributed to the decision.

Dietman first ordered the structure fenced off as a public health hazard May 24. In August, the common council voted to raze the structure no sooner than Jan. 1, to give preservationists  an opportunity to create a plan of use for the Granary and raise funds to rehabilitate the structure.

The Granary building has been the subject of much debate in the city ever since the city began planning for the redevelopment of the west waterfront between the Door County Maritime Museum and the Oregon Street Bridge in 2010.

In August it was placed on the Wisconsin Register of Historic Places, and is up for placement on the National Register of Historic Places in the coming months.

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society (SBHS) announced Thursday that it has raised $150,000 in private funds to immediately stabilize and repair the granary, the amount estimated by a city-commissioned engineering study in 2014. The historical society issued a statement saying: “The fate of a historic, 116-year old icon of Sturgeon Bay should not be decided over a weekend.”

“SBHS hopes that the City Council, Mayor Birmingham, and the Fire Chief will allow our historic Teweles and Brandeis Granary to be saved, restored, and become again the West Waterfront’s iconic hub,” the SBHS statement said.

Dietman informed Mayor Thad Birmingham in a letter Oct. 13 that he had received complaints that the Granary building was possibly moving and that metal siding on the building was bulging “from people who see the structure on a regular basis and feel is has moved in the last strong winds, and appears to be leaning to the west more than it has in the past.”

Dietman said he had photos taken with a drone, and had it inspected by Sturgeon Bay City Engineer Chad Shefchik and engineer Brian Spetz to map any movement on the structure.

The city did not release what those inspections showed.



The granary building on Sturgeon Bay's west waterfront has fallen into disrepair. Photo by Jacob Dannhausen-Brun.

Granary at Center of Waterfront Controversy

The fate of Sturgeon Bay's Granary building on the west waterfront brought Sturgeon Bay


Engineers estimate it will cost up to $148,739 to stabilize the old granary building in Sturgeon Bay.Photo by Jacob Dannhausen-Brun.


The granary building is located on Sturgeon Bay's west waterfront, which has been the subject of controversy since 2012. Photo by Jacob Dannhausen-Brun.


The Teweles and Brandeis Grain Elevator was placed on the Wisconsin Register of Historic Places in August. The city could vote on bids to take it down Tuesday, Dec. 19. Photo by Jacob Dannhausen-Brun.

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