Demolition begins on Abele’s Shorewood mansion

Eschweiler-designed home was acquired by county executive last year

Crews work to demolish the historic mansion located on Lake Drive.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:55 am

Crews have begun demolishing Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele’s Shorewood mansion on North Lake Drive.

Abele purchased the historic mansion, located on 3534 N. Lake Drive, in November for $2.6 million. Then in late May, he filed a permit with the village to demolish the building as well as other structures on the property, such as the guest house and fountain.

The demolition project was given the green light on Thursday after Shorewood’s Design Review Board approved a site restoration plan submitted by Abele and Barenz Builders. The Germantown-based contractor is performing the demolition work.

County Executive Chris Abele is demolishing the Shorewood mansion he owns at 3534 N. Lake Drive.

The 9,762-square-foot home, which sits on a 2.5-acre site along Lake Michigan, was built in 1927 and is known as the Charles and Laura Albright House, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society. It was designed by Eschweiler and Eschweiler in Mediterranean Revival architectural style.

The property has an assessed value of about $2.35 million, according to Milwaukee County records.

By mid-morning, only about half the building remained standing. An excavator stood idle in the front driveway. A few joggers stopped to glance at the mansion being razed, while others parked their cars along Lake Drive specifically to take photos.

Jim Ollroggee, a realtor with FirstWeber Realtors who lives along Lake Drive in Milwaukee, was one of those who came to see the demolition. Ollroggee said he was involved in the sale of the property twice, once in the 1970s and again in the 1990s.

“The area is losing, in my opinion either the first or second most significant home in Shorewood,” Ollroggee said, with the other being the historic Fred Vogel Jr. House next door at 3510 N. Lake Drive.

“Everything else isn’t even a close second, so it’s unfortunate for Shorewood that way but they’re going to have to live with it down the line,” Ollroggee said.

Bart Griepentrog, Shorewood planning and development director, said this afternoon that no plans have yet been filed for what will be built at the property in place of the mansion. He said if an application is eventually submitted, it would also need approval by the Design Review Board.

Abele couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.