The property at 609 Morningside Ave. isn’t any more damaged than the average foreclosure home her company buys, but Jennifer Derr of Remade Properties said she still expects the gut and remodel to take months.
Derr’s company bought the property in May for $160,000, according to city documents. It was one of the last properties in Madison owned by Ray Peterson, who was ordered by a judge to relinquish his control of dozens of rental properties that had been deemed public nuisances.
Remade Properties buys, renovates and sells old properties, said Derr, who co-owns the business with her husband and brother-in-law.
“We’re going to turn (the building) into a single-family home and restore it to what it should have been,” she said.
After the city of Madison won a 2015 lawsuit and a judge deemed the Morningside Avenue property and 44 others public nuisances, Peterson, 92, sold all of his rental properties.
The City Attorney’s Office said Peterson has now sold all 48 properties he had owned in the city for a total of about $6.3 million, although the proceeds are subject to costs that the companies managing his properties have incurred in the interim.
“Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Zilavy has worked diligently on this matter for over two years,” City Attorney Michael May said. “Bringing a matter of this complexity to a conclusion in that time frame took a lot of effort.”
The city filed the public nuisance complaint against Peterson in October 2015, claiming that his properties had racked up more than 1,400 building code violations over the previous five years and more than $650,000 in accumulated judgments from building code prosecutions between May 2011 and June 2015.
“It’s because he didn’t fix those properties that he had to pay so many fines,” May said. “It makes people wonder why he didn’t use that money to pay for repairs, but that was his choice.”
In June 2016, Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese ordered Peterson to no longer manage or maintain any of his properties that were declared to be public nuisances. Genovese appointed Anchor Property Management as a receiver to bring the buildings up to code, and Peterson decided to sell the properties.
The first properties were sold in December 2015, and the final properties sold last month.
Peterson said Saturday an appeal is still pending and he hopes to get back some of the properties which he said were sold significantly below their value.
“We lost over $2 million that we know of,” Peterson said.
Peterson has maintained that he was unfairly targeted by city officials.
May said that having the properties sold will positively affect the neighborhoods and that the properties are more likely to be maintained by the new owners.
“You had a landlord here who didn’t want to take care of his properties,” May said. “It was only through this extra effort that we were able to get these results.”