Sister Bay Negotiating Remaining Braun Property

After public visioning sessions, lot line changes and many individual offers on the Braun property in downtown Sister Bay, the village may soon get what it was hoping for when it originally began planning for the property in 2013: a single developer to purchase and build on the lots.

“The single offer will be for… everything up for sale,” said Zeke Jackson, village administrator, in an interview before the board entertained an offer on the property during closed session Sept. 19.

The board has not yet accepted an offer on the property, but Jackson said there is substantial agreement between the parties and he expects the sale to be concluded soon.

The village is planning to retain the center of the property for public use, but the surrounding development may rearrange those lot lines. The immediate corner of Bay Shore Drive and Mill Road will be an information kiosk.

Two of the lots on the Braun property were purchased by JJ Johnson, but the village recouped them after Johnson did not begin development after Labor Day of this year as promised.

“[JJ was] not ready to break ground and we need somebody ready to break ground,” said Jackson. “The board politely returned his earnest money and said if you want to come back in and play we’d be more than happy to talk with you.”

The development will likely be phased over several years.

As long as developers follow through on their plans and they are met with village approval, here’s what else to expect to see in Sister Bay over the next year:

Keith Garot has defaulted on his development agreement with the village again when he did not have landscaping and an asphalted road down by Aug. 31. Jackson sent Garot an amended development agreement by certified mail, which contained minimum assessed value payments of $12,500, but Garot has not signed and returned it. There are currently two apartment buildings being built on the property.

“[The village] may not allow him to do anything else,” said Jackson. “He may be forced into a position to sell stuff off.”

The village may begin foreclosure proceedings at the end of this year if the landscaping and new road is not complete, but Jackson prefers to work with Garot if he does appear to be making progress.

“If we go to foreclose it’s going to take us forever to take care of on the back end,” said Jackson. “It comes under us and we get into public bidding requirements to get things done which drives project costs up and makes it unaffordable.”

The village will not release occupancy permits to Garot for the two apartment buildings underway until the landscaping and new road are in place. Any future development at the property will be at the discretion of the village.

  • A 12-unit three-bedroom hotel condominium at the corner of Bay Shore Drive and Scandia Road. Village code requires 25 percent of the units be used as transient lodging. The project is being built by Al Gokey of Packerland Builders and he hopes to break ground before the frost this year.
  • A 48-unit apartment complex will be built on half of the reclaimed quarry property behind Shopko by PRE/3, the developers of the Niagara Ridge apartment complex behind Johnson’s Park. The company has an option to purchase the remaining quarry lot but Jackson does not believe they will do so until they have a better understanding of housing demand in the area.
  • Al Gokey’s mixed use development on Mill Road immediately across from the beach is near completion and expected to be sold by the spring. The bottom level contains two commercial units.
  • Preliminary plans for the Piggly Wiggly expansion were approved, but the owners of the grocery store still need to work out a deal with the Country Walk Owners Association (CWOA) for parking. The village parking code is not as restrictive as the parking demanded by the CWOA, who owns the property surrounding Piggly Wiggly. Jackson and a representative from the Country Walk Association confirmed that the grocers may look to vacate the current building and rebuild elsewhere if they cannot reach a deal.
  • The Harbor View single family homes near the corner of Highways 42 and 57 at the location of the old school will contain six homes, with the first being constructed in 2018. This development is also operated by Gokey and he is expected to build one home per year until the entire lot is developed.

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