Mayo questions sale price of O’Donnell Park structure

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:59 am

Milwaukee County Supervisor Michael Mayo Sr. is questioning the proposed $14 million sale of the O’Donnell Park parking structure to Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Inc., saying it may not generate enough revenue for Milwaukee County.

Mayo, chairman of the County Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee, praised Northwestern Mutual as “a good corporate citizen,” but he said the proposed sale price of $14 million, less $1.3 million for repairs to the structure’s roof, could be too low.

“I have a lot of respect for Northwestern Mutual and their role in the community,” Mayo said. “We should do everything possible to help Northwestern Mutual. They are a good employer and they are good for Milwaukee. But in the final analysis I wonder if this is better for Northwestern Mutual than it is for the people of Milwaukee County.”

Mayo said the $5 million that Milwaukee County would net from the sale was not enough given the location of the structure on Milwaukee’s lakefront. While the structure needs repairs and the county still owes approximately $7.1 million on the property, he said the $5 million in net revenue represented a small portion of the county’s needs.

“This is prime real estate on Milwaukee County’s lakefront,” Mayo said. “We must be good stewards of the County’s property and the lakefront. I want to see a win-win for Northwestern Mutual and the people of Milwaukee County, but right now it’s not clear that given the sale price this is a win for Milwaukee County. Netting $5 million from the sale won’t begin to address the needs we have for our parks and other public amenities. In addition, how are we going to replace the $1 million in revenue that the parking structure generates for Milwaukee County each year? They need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new proposal, one that benefits our constituents as much as it benefits Northwestern Mutual. I believe we must be diligent in reviewing this proposal and we must ensure that the people of Milwaukee County are well-served by the sale of this prime piece of real estate before we move forward.”

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