some locales, its not all that unusual to demolish an existing
house to build a bigger one on the same lot. On the Northshore,
lot sizes and home prices all but eliminate the teardown option.
Raasch is one of three building inspectors in Shorewood.
Karl Ekman said his
family got the Whitefish Bay Blues about eight years ago
after moving from there to Mequon for larger quarters. Ekman,
general manager for Sterling Hasey Co., a builder based in
Glendale, began pondering a teardown in the Bay.
Ive looked for
kind of junky homes to start over with, he said. We looked
for a couple years at least for a home we could remodel or tear
out, and the price was prohibitive.
In the past two
years, only one house has been torn down and replaced in Whitefish
Bay, according to village building inspector Joel Jaster. A home
was demolished last year with a teardown in the plans, but the
design of the new one was declined by the village architectural
The owners first
tried to sell off the 87 x 127 property as two single-family lots,
then gained approval for a different new-home design and will
build a $300,000 house.
The closest thing
Shorewood has seen to teardowns in the last couple of years is the
redevelopment by the village of the property on E. Edgewood Ave.,
formerly owned by Columbia Hospital. Seven homes are giving way to
There simply isnt
much room to grow in Shorewood, notes Bill Raasch, one of the
villages three building inspectors.
Experts say a few
teardowns have been done in Mequon and in Fox Point, particularly
along the lake. But the narrow lots so common to older
neighborhoods are preventing more teardowns.
Its hard for
the builders, because theres no place to put the lumber, or
theres limited parking for the crew, compared to the suburban
areas, said Ekman. I bid on a teardown job once on the East
Side, and it was on a 30-foot lot, with the house six feet away
from the next door neighbor. Its really tricky when you have
that tight a space.