Developer, Post Office in settlement talks over eviction

Parties seek Jan. 21 deadline from court

The front entrance to the downtown Milwaukee U.S. Postal Service facility.

The U.S. Postal Service and a developer seeking to evict the agency from its downtown Milwaukee facility are in talks to resolve their dispute.

The property is owned by an affiliate of Chicago-based R2 Companies, which filed a lawsuit in August alleging the Postal Service has not properly maintained the 1.1 million-square-foot building at 341 W. St. Paul Ave. and failed to keep it in adequate condition.

The U.S. Postal Service moved the case to federal court and filled a motion to dismiss, arguing it is under no obligation to perform repairs on demand and that it has discretion of when to perform maintenance to keep the building in proper condition.

345 Property Owner LLC, the entity that filed the lawsuit, had until Friday to file a brief in opposition to the motion. Attorneys from both sides on Wednesday asked the court to extend the deadline to Jan. 21.

“The parties are engaged in discussions aimed at resolving the pending dispute and believe the additional time will allow such negotiations to be completed,” the filing says.

Eric Van Schyndle, a partner at Quarles & Brady and attorney for the plaintiff, confirmed settlement discussions are underway between the two sides, but did not elaborate.

“Need a little less talk and a lot more action,” Matt Garrison, managing partner at R2 Companies, said in an email when asked about the case.

Garrison and R2 bought the downtown post office building in 2015 for $13.1 million. He then unveiled dramatic redevelopment plans that include office, residential, entertainment and retail projects once the post office’s lease is up.

However, the lease, which dates back to the 1970s, could allow USPS to stay in the building through 2040.

Department of Justice attorneys for the Postal Service declined to comment citing the ongoing nature of the litigation.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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