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Parkland Mall Owner's Frustration Continues

While the city has maintained silence over recent mediation, the developer/owner of the nearly 11-acre parcel in Muskego's downtown relays his frustration in the inability to reach an agreement to settle lawsuit.

As the by property owner Art Dyer failed in mediation earlier this month, officials had little to say about the specifics of the negotiations involving the former Parkland Mall site.

"The specifics of mediation are not to be discussed by anyone at the direction of the mediator so as not to harm the mediation process. The city will continue to honor that," Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti said.

However, Dyer had plenty to say after Chiaverotti's statement during her last week indicated that Dyer had "backed out of negotiations." 

Dyer claims that the city conspired to prevent him from developing the land, in effect taking the property from him.

He sent a recap of his issues with the city in an email to the mayor, aldermen and media, reiterating his complaint with the city for what he saw as misconduct over the years. He also took issue that the city chose to use a different appraiser to come up with a value on the Parkland property.

"The city has already addressed the allegations and is awaiting rulings on various motions seeking dismissal of the lawsuit," Chiaverotti responded. "The city is not going to comment outside the pending litigation about Art's personal views." 

Dyer also indicated what his company, Parkland Venture LLC, was seeking going into mediation, and what the city had countered that brought to an end the day-long mediation.

"Parkland offered to sell the property to the city for $15.9 million plus legal costs and attorney fees including release of all Parkland claims," Dyer wrote.   "The city countered to purchase the land and settle all claims in the entire law suit for $2 million. Parkland rejected that offer out of hand asking the City for its final and best offer. The city made a final and best offer of $2.4 million dollars." 

Dyer also made a comparison to the value of his property to the recent

"When demolition of houses for the two lake properties is taken into consideration, the purchase price offered for Parkland is about half what the city is paying to purchase two homes with about two-thirds less land area, which unlike Parkland do not already have zoning for 140 condominiums," he wrote.

Dyer pointed to aldermen Neil Borgman, Dan Soltysiak and Kert Harenda, who had "endorsed the city going forward with review of my proposal as they believe it has merit, as does (Community Development Authority) Chairman (Rob) Glazier."

Although he said that the mayor's statement that he had backed out of negotiations was "absolutely not accurate," Dyer explained that the city's "best and final offer of $2.4 million dollars" was rejected, and the mediation is over — at least for now.

Although the mediator returned asking Parkland to make another offer, he said "Parkland responded it would wait until after the election and possible upcoming recalls to reply."

The city has agreed to consider mediation again after the April 3 election, in which three aldermanic seats are up for grabs.

Rick Petfalski March 27, 2012 at 08:14 PM
You, me and everyone make "We" Get you head out of the sand. I know Art and always ha a decent working relationship with him. He knew I would listen to his requests without making it personal. I have no issue with a developer asking for the world, just don't get mad when that answer is "NO." The idea of compromise is BOTH sides move a little towards one another, and I have seen the city do that time and time again, only to see the developer come back for more and more. There is a reason no one thru dozens of aldermen and 5 Mayors have been able to do anything to resolve this. There has been 1 constant player in all of this. Do I need to say more? Yes people want to see this resolved and so do I, but I doubt many people want to pay more than fair market value for the land. (Zoned Commercial) If we do it with him, what's next? It's only a matter of time before Pick N Save becomes the next Parkland mall.
Rick Petfalski March 27, 2012 at 08:15 PM
I miss spoke earlier - I meant to say "Fair Market Value"
Nate D. March 27, 2012 at 08:32 PM
I don't need to call the City...resolution #293-96 passed in 1996 and resolution #122-98 passed in 1998; those resolutions, in effect, condemn the property. Those resolutions are still on the books. They have not been rescinded so they are still in force. NOBODY will buy such a property. You cannot even market the property. Why doesn't the City rescind the resolutions to clear the title and take away Dyer's excuse? It would be easy enough to do...why not do it? By the way...just because you never have heard of anything called a cloud on title, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It is a common legal term involving real estate.
Nate D. March 27, 2012 at 08:36 PM
see other comments regarding the clouds the City has placed on title....no private individual will buy it and that was the intention.....at this point it will be Dyer or the City who develops it. If you wanted to open this up to more options.....remove the cloud on title placed by the City and maybe the private investors will come in.
The Truth Muskego March 27, 2012 at 08:36 PM
No Bacon you can't. As Rick Petfalski said in his posting above, there has been one constant throughtout this and that is where the problem lies. The lake property and the promise it holds is the best thing for this city. It takes vision to see that promise. Yes, things could have been handled better and now it appears the city is on the right track. The Parkland property is not a logical #1 choice for a downtown. Any news on that incident in District 1 from last night?
obtw March 27, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Nate, I ignored your "cloud" comment earlier. There is no such thing as a "cloud" on a title. Unless you think zoning restrictions or architectural controls are "clouds". If that's the case, I have "clouds" on my residential property. And those "clouds" prevent me from building and operating a high rise house of ill repute.
Nate D. March 27, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Wrong. What would you call resolutions condemning the property?
Simple Bacon March 27, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Rick, our Mayor has been involved almost since the beginning so how much responsibility should she bear?
Simple Bacon March 27, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Actually there are two constants throughout the Parkland debacle Dyer and Chiaverotti. Check the minutes from the July 14 1998 Common Council meeting. http://www.ci.muskego.wi.us/Portals/0/COMMedia/CC/Minutes/1998/ccm19980714.pdf Maybe our Mayor needs to recuse herself from discussion as she's clearly entangled in this but the rest of us ought to be able to speak freely and pursue solutions.
obtw March 27, 2012 at 11:13 PM
I would call it "A resolution to condemn the property'". It's not a "cloud" and it has nothing to do with the title. Nothing.
Heidi Lindhorst March 28, 2012 at 01:22 AM
There simply is no excuse for the tree farm. Resolve it. Period. Common Council, that is your charge. Three members want to consider the offer. The rest? There is no excuse for complacency. Do your job. Stop finding reasons to fail. Start finding reasons to succeed
The Anti-Alinsky March 28, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Nate, I talked to my alderman about the underground parking about five years ago. He said the reason it was needed is that the guidelines provided by the CDA was to have a minimum amount of parking based on the square footage of the retail area. In order to maximize his retail space, Dyer came up with the idea of underground parking. If he scaled back on his retail space to something more fitting to the area, he would not need the underground parking.
The Anti-Alinsky March 28, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Bacon, ask a dozen people that live outside of Muskego where our downtown is and you will get a dozen different answer. We don't have a downtown. We have the opportunity to put our downtown where ever we want. Obviously it needs to go on Janesville Road, but who says it has to go on Lannon. Why can't it go 1/2 mile down the road from there? You don't happen to work for Art Dyer do you?
The Anti-Alinsky March 28, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Nate, again, going back five years to my chat with my alderman, Dyer's plan was approved. He then asked for 3 million from the city to help develop it ( http://www.ci.muskego.wi.us/Portals/0/COMMedia/CDA/Minutes/2004/cdam20041004.pdf ). The only thing the city is guilty of is refusing to give Art Dyer any corporate welfare money. After the financing was rejected, he then offered to sell the property to the city for 5.7 million ( http://www.ci.muskego.wi.us/Portals/0/COMMedia/CDA/Minutes/2005/cdam20050127.pdf ). So seven years later, after the housing bubble burst and still in a major recession, you want to pay nearly triple that price? Mr. Petfalski, count me in as a "we".
The Anti-Alinsky March 28, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Nate, the property was condemned because the previous owner had let the mall building itself run down. I remember walking in a few years before it was torn down and seeing a lose brick ready to fall out of the side. I can't blame Mr. Dyer for not wanting to sink any money into the place, especially since he did have other plans. But when it gets to a point where the public is at risk, some action needs to take place. Granted, the Common council at the time could have simply closed it pending any repairs, but that was 11 years, and as Mr. Petfalski pointed out, 5 mayors and dozens of aldermen ago. So Nate, what cloud is sitting over the site right now?
Nate D. March 28, 2012 at 03:17 AM
the same resolutions are on the books...there are 2 resolutions condemning the property...they are still there even if the building isn't.....rescind them and see if the market works
Jay March 28, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Here is the problem though. People Bash the administration for spending their tax dollars too much, and now some of those same people are complaining about not spending enough for the Parkland Mall site. What would you do if you were a city official in this situation. Not saying we should not just resolve the Parkland Mall issue but just saying you can't complain both ways and be taken seriously.
Jay March 28, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Let me ask everyone this. Are you ok resolving this if your taxes then have to be raised? This is the bottom line. I hear everyone here complain about taxes going higher even though over the last 5 years they have not despite all that Muskego has been doing. So that is the question you need to answer.
thomas l. ralston March 28, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Heidi, are you serious? Resolve it. At what price? Are you in the habit of paying five, ten, twenty times what something is worth just to resolve it? Ever buy a car over list price? How about double list? Why would you? Really want Parkland resolved? Tell all your elected officials to never, ever buy Parkland Mall. Tell Mr.Dyer to build on it himself or sell it to some other private developer. If those options are unacceptable to Mr. Dyer, remind him that he may never realize a profit off of Parkland. This city has a longer lifespan than any one individual and the next owners probably are not going to ask for way more than what the property is worth. They wont have the history with the city Mr. Dyer has. Think they will endlessly demand an unreasable price? Many times over fair market value and sue when they dont get it? I sincerely doubt it. I am willing to look at runty Christmas trees forever than to grossly overpay for Dyers property. If everyone sent the same message, dont you think Mr. Dyer might be more inclined to settle at an actual fair market price? Think he wants to go to the grave owning Parkland Mall? Tell us what you think?. Finally, there is no cloud on title issue that cant be resolved. He could sell to somebody else. Wouldn't the city would be doing handstands if he found another buyer? I predict that if Mr.Dyer came up with another buyer, so that Muskego and him can finally part company, there wont be any kind of hindrance from city hall.
Simple Bacon March 28, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Anti, does it matter who I work for? I guess this would be in your rulebook - to make the issue about the person and not the argument.
obtw March 28, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Mr. Ralston, on this issue, you are spot on!!!
Mike Hunt March 28, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Oh, Heidi, you're such an inspirational success in all that you do! Yeah, why can't the other four aldermen on the council be more like you?
The Anti-Alinsky March 28, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Bacon I am very suspect about who you work for since you seem to be willing to pay five times the value for the old Parkland site, but not fair market for the two lake property homes. If you don't work for Art Dyer, that's fine. But why would you want to pay that much for an empty lot that can't even grow evergreen trees? And dollar for dollar, I challenge you to find any Little Muskego lake front acreage at that price.
The Anti-Alinsky March 28, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Bacon, Cathy Chiaverotti worked at the chamber of commerce for ten years prior to becoming mayor. What exactly did she, or even could she, do as a chamber employee?
The Anti-Alinsky March 28, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Heidi, it is foolish to be in talks with the Art Dyer while the lawsuit is still in the court system. What these Three Stooges did was potentially cause harm to the situation. Saying the wrong thing could get on record and hurt the cities case. What they should have done was direct Mr. Dyer to the city attorney for any discussions. Instead they ran the risk of losing this lawsuit. Had this been a lawsuit against a business, and these three talked with Mr. Dyer, they would have been fired. I guess it just goes to show that these three think they run the city alone.
Rick Petfalski March 28, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Simple, couple of things, first I never answered your "Recall" question. Answer is generally "no" I supported the recall of Mayor Damaske, and I admit part of that was personal, but most was due to his actions in office that was putting this city at risk of legal problems.
Rick Petfalski March 28, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Simple, The parkland mall is the reason I got in politics to start with. I was frustrated by the cities lack of support for what at the time was a reasonable request by Dyer for an allocation of TIF funds to get the project moving. The TIF was approved and still no movements from the developer. Alderman Kathy really didn't have much to do with the project while in office. She supported the TIF request and waited like the rest of us for some movement from Dyer. When I took office, Art came forward with a new partner who had a very good reputation and proposed the larger condo/mix use proposal, but was now asking for a much larger tif than the development would support according to outside experts. With modifications to the height of the building, it might have been a nice development, but the city was being asked to kick in too much. Art and his partners parted ways, and I ultimately left office for the school board. A number of proposal went back and forth for a over the years, until Art decided that his assessment was too high, even though it was much less than what he claimed to property was worth. He then came up with a genius idea of converting the land to agriculture. You got to give the guy credit for thinking of it. You also have to blame the state for the laws that allow it. So your comment about the Mayor having her hand in this thing for so long is not really accurate. I believe the person with the longest "Hand" and most contentious relationship was Salentine.
The Anti-Alinsky March 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Bacon, I doubt that the two resolutions is what is holding up the sale of the property. Really, if a sale is just about finalized why wouldn't the common council rescind them? I would bet almost no developer knows about them since it was over ten years ago.
Heidi Lindhorst March 30, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Think of the opportunity cost of leaving the tree farm undeveloped. For example, missed property tax revenue, and the cost of the poor public image the tree farm projects. Does it create a negative impression of the city to those who otherwise might shop or dine here, or on a much larger scale, buy homes or locate businesses here? Finally, what is the capacity of that land, once developed, to draw traffic and increase revenue flow within the city? It’s really about ROI…a much larger prize than the cost of the property itself.
The Anti-Alinsky March 31, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Heidi the ROI would take a long time to recover if you buy something for five times more than it's worth. Why should the City of Muskego provide corporate welfare for Art Dyer? He can easily make a tidy profit if he just builds something reasonable. I know you are trying to divert attention from the lake park proposal, but that has the potential, if we do it right, to really bring something great to the city, including the possibility of a senior center. Let's see what this ad-hoc committee can come up with before we give away the city. I will say it again, the only thing stopping Art Dyer from developing the Parkland site is Art Dyer.

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