Have $2 Million? You Could Buy Tony Zielinski’s House in Bay View

There isn’t another house like it in the area, but that’s also why it’s so divisive.

Even someone brand new to Milwaukee would probably recognize this particular Bay View home on South Superior Street. It’s the kind of house that you tap the brakes for to take a closer look, and now it’s for sale. 

Fourteenth District alderman (and former Milwaukee mayoral candidate) Tony Zielinksi and his wife Annette own the 6,000-square-foot contemporary three-bedroom, four-bath home. They bought a 1921 home on the lot in 2017, then razed it to to erect their new home.

And while it’s the subject of mixed reviews by locals for its avant-garde, super-modern design unlike anything else in the neighborhood, it’s listing for just over $2 million. 

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“Some feel the style doesn’t fit in, while others may like it,” says Jay Schmidt of The Jay Schmidt Group of Keller Williams North Shore, who is handling the listing. “I’m surprised by how negative people feel about this. It’s one of the most spectacular homes I’ve been in.”

Until it goes live, it can be viewed on the agency’s Facebook page. Although Annette Zielinski is a realtor, she outsourced the listing to him, after they met at a charity event. It’s a decision Schmidt supports, and one he employed when asking a realtor colleague to help sell a home of his.

“You get a more objective view of the home in the process,” he says.

What kind of buyer is Schmidt targeting? With such a high price point, the pool may be shallow. Bay View’s most expensive listing for a single-family home right now, according to Realtor.com is $499,900, for this 1,968-square-foot Prairie-style home built in 1916 and across from South Shore Park. The priciest home for sale in Milwaukee that’s not a condo? This Bay View pad is it. The closest example, in price, is this five-bedroom brick home on North Lake Drive on the East Side for $1,295,000.

But then again, you’re not going to easily find 6,000 square feet of living space in the city. In fact, the two most expensive condos in Milwaukee right now are listing for $2.3 million (4,000 square feet in the University Club Tower) and $2.2 million (6,500 square feet in 601 Lofts).

“It’s for someone who wants to live in a luxury condo but doesn’t want to ride up 30 stories in an elevator,” Schmidt says, about the Bay View home. Although it’s worth noting this home does have an elevator.

“It’s for someone who values the modern quality finishes but wants some privacy” and also likes “the Bay View vibe,” he says.

Could it also entice a professional athlete? Perhaps. Ceilings on the first floor are 10 feet in height, and 12 feet on the second floor. 

Assessed by the city at $1.7 million, he says, “that’s an additional $46,000 back to the city as tax revenue.”

In the third-floor master suite is a steam shower and Japanese-style soaking tub, with heated floors throughout, some of them crafted from high-end marble. A security system puts this home firmly in the “smart home” camp while solar panels on top add an eco-friendly angle.

With black-walnut custom cabinetry, “the [second-floor] kitchen is made for a cook and entertainer,” says Schmidt. “It’s got three ovens.” And an in-home gym means safe, socially distanced workouts during COVID-19. For one who works from home often — again, perhaps due to COVID-19 in particular — a first-floor study features a fireplace to keep things cozy.

And if you’re drooling over all the on-par furnishings, know this: it can all be included for an additional price. “The sellers would be open to selling them with the home,” says Schmidt. “A lot of the furnishings throughout the home were selected to fit the home, by Haven Interiors.”

If it’s such a great home, why are the Zielinskis selling? “The seller had a very public career,” says Schmidt. “He and his wife view their home as a private home and have made the decision to sell.”

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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.