Milwaukee couple's venue deemed unsafe 10 days before wedding

Posted at 7:00 PM, Oct 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-13 10:43:07-04

A local couple is scrambling to find a wedding venue after the city deemed the building they were going to use unsafe, just ten days away from their big day.

Evan Olson and Danielle Monita wanted a non-traditional wedding space. They had gone to the Lindsay Brothers building near 2nd and Seeboth Streets years ago for a Harley Davidson event and fell in love with it. They knew the was the space they wanted to celebrate their relationship. 

"I found the owner and was contacting him for six months to make it happen," Olson said. "He agreed to it. He's held other events there before. This past December, we signed a contract and everything was good until yesterday."

Monita's brother works as one of the wedding vendors and told them the building would not be usable for the wedding. The Department of Neighborhood Services would not give the building a Temporary Occupancy Permit since there were so many safety issues the owner never fixed. So with just 10 days until their wedding, Evan and Danielle were left with nowhere to go. 

"I'm wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday," Olson said. "I've been glued to my phone."

"I'm sure anyone that's planned a wedding can appreciate how you feel nine days before your wedding," Monita said. "Having to completely replan, essentially an entire wedding, is a stress most brides and grooms do not want to have."

Habitat for Humanity was supposed to hold a Gala at the Lindsay Brothers Building Thursday night but was able to secure a different location. However, Evan and Danielle don't have the kind of money to secure another place in such a quick amount of time. 

"To have that rug pulled out from under you, it's a devastating feeling in the moment," Olson said. "I think who we are by nature, we'll be fine. But you can't go back in time." 

Commissioner Preston Cole with the Department of Neighborhood Services was not available for an interview Thursday but released the following statement on the situation:

"The Department of Neighborhood Services sympathizes with all who have rented or leased out assembly space for the 126 S 2nd  St. storage warehouse. The decision to no longer provide temporary occupancies was not done lightly, hastily, but was made with a consensus of trades, life safety, and management staff.

The  Department met with the property owner on numerous occasions for more  than a year so that this very situation of those now affected could be  avoided. Unfortunately for all parties, the necessary life safety  improvements were not made to the building by the property owner. We  cannot, in good conscience, put the public in an unsafe building that  does not meet the safety requirements required by the State of Wisconsin  and the City of Milwaukee for commercial buildings used as assembly  spaces. Therefore, no further temporary occupancies will be issued until  the safety systems are implemented with the required plan review  submittals and permit inspections."

TODAY'S TMJ4 attempted to contact the building's owner several times throughout the day but did not receive a call back. 

"I was defeated yesterday," Olson said. "I feel like I'm the one driving it and I feel like a failure because of it but ultimately, it's because of some irresponsibilities on one person's part."

Danielle and Evan are both Harley enthusiasts. They say the view from the floor in the Lindsay Brothers Building gives a perfect view of the Harley Davidson Museum. Evan even took the time to figure out the perfect time of day for the ceremony so the lighting was just right. 

"At the end of the day, it's not the wedding we want," Olson said. "We have people coming from probably 15 states. We want to showcase Milwaukee. Most have never been here before."