Bermico developer faces sheriff’s sale on city lots


April 29, 2015

WEST BEND - John Bagley, who’s in a dispute with West Bend officials over his effort to renovate and develop the former Bermico building, is facing a sheriff’s sale on two city residential properties.

According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department website, sheriff sales on the two vacant lots are May 6. A judgement of foreclosure has been entered against the properties for slightly less than $400,000 each.

No street address is given for either property in legal documents available online because the properties are undeveloped. They are only listed as being on Woodlawn Avenue in the Fairview Lawns Subdivision and on Eastern Avenue in the Riverview Heights Subdivision.

“I bought the lots in 2007 with another partner,” Bagley said. “We planned to build houses and flip them, but the economy took a downturn and we couldn’t.”

According to information from the Washington County Register of Deeds office, the Woodlawn Avenue property has a current market value of $36,900. The office indicated Bagley purchased the property in 2007 for $35,000.

The Register of Deeds Office also said the Eastern Avenue property has a market value of $34,800 and it was purchased in 2007 for $41,000. The nearly $400,000 sought for each of the lots, according to the legal documents, includes all liens, encumbrances, unpaid real estate taxes, special assessments, penalties and interest.

Meanwhile, hearings regarding Bagley’s dispute with the city over the Bermico building are Monday and May 8 in Washington County Circuit Court before Judge James Muehlbauer.

The city has been involved in legal efforts since 2012 with the building’s former owner and now Bagley. Bagley said he is attempting to renovate the building and have new businesses move in. In court documents the city has described the building as “dilapidated, dangerous and in an unsafe condition.”

Bagley said Tuesday he wants the city to leave him alone so he can complete the project.

“I just want to get along with the city and get this done,” Bagley said.

During the conference, Muehlbauer expressed doubt Bagley could get the project completed before his state permit expires.

“John, you may be in over your head. You may have been too optimistic about this project from the start,” Muehlbauer said.

But Tuesday, Bagley claimed the state has renewed his construction plan permit through August 2016.

The city’s attorney, Timothy Algiers, said the city hopes the judge will issue a raze order at Monday’s hearing and allow the city to demolish the building.

“This case has been going for a long time. The city just wants to bring an end to it,” Algiers said.

City officials have called the building a “substantial risk to public safety.”