Rebuilding The State’s Largest Housing Complex
Phase 2 of Westlawn Public Housing project is huge undertaking with complex financing.
Westlawn is the state’s largest public housing complex, and it’s being rebuilt. With construction contracts out for bidding and financing being finalized, the second phase of redevelopment for the 75-acre public housing complex is imminent.
The ongoing development will see two new housing projects breaking ground in 2017, say officials from the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority (HACM).
They will be called Victory Manor, a 60-unit apartment complex, and Westlawn Gardens, comprised of 30 separate townhouse units.
The new townhouses will be located in the area of about four square blocks between 60th St. and 64th St. and Silver Spring Dr. and Custer Ave. Victory Manor will be located at the southeast corner of 68th St. and Silver Spring Dr.
“It’s using the revitalization of public housing for impacting the larger neighborhood,” says Paul Williams, communications coordinator for the housing authority.
City and Housing Authority officials hope to leverage local investment in the area with the new developments.
“It’s not only what Westlawn signifies to people that live around there or conduct business there,” says Antonio Perez, secretary-executive director of HACM, “but also how could we be seen, as not only a reasonable neighbor, but better yet, a neighbor that was bringing investment to the area.”
Construction contracts for the two new sites are currently out for bidding and will close Feb. 20, Williams says.
The Victory Manor apartment complex will feature 54 affordable and six market rate units. Also, 15 of the units will have supportive services for veterans.
The $14.5 million Victory Manor project is being financed through a $1.4 million WHEDA loan, $6.6 million in funding from the housing authority, $300,000 from a community development block grant (CDBG) and $6.2 million in tax credit equity.
The 30 new townhouse units for Westlawn Gardens will all be affordable housing. The $7.5 million financing for that project is being financed with a $1.6 million WHEDA loan, $3 million in funding from HACM, $300,000 from CDBG and $2.6 million in tax credit equity.
During the six-year, six-phase redevelopment of Westlawn, over 350 families will be relocated. It was important to the housing authority that some of the investment be in human capital, Perez says.
As part of the $30 million choice neighborhood grant the project received from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2015, residents will have access to case management, employment and job training services and educational development for children as they are navigate other public housing or gain Section 8 housing assistance during their relocation.