Graham Kilmer

Finally, Greenwich Park Apartments Opens

The six-story apartment building has a mix of affordable and market rate units.

By - May 4th, 2017 07:14 pm
Ribbon cutting for Greenwich Park Apartments. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Ribbon cutting for Greenwich Park Apartments. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

After a decade, the Greenwich Park Apartments have finally opened.

At a ceremony Thursday, the six-story mixed-income building, a block north of North Avenue, was lauded by local leaders as an achievement in egalitarian housing the likes of which the East Side has never seen.

“The amount of effort, time and commitment to get to today has been significant,” said Mark Angelini, the president of Mercy Housing Lakefront, which is non-profit behind the new $13.8 million apartment building.

Nik Kovac. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Nik Kovac. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Mayor Tom Barrett spoke and he mentioned that Mercy Housing first approached the city 11 years ago to work on housing like this in Milwaukee. Ald. Nik Kovac, the alderperson for the building’s new residents, said, “I’ve been alderman now for just over nine years and I feel that most of those nine years have been spent, at least part of some days, talking about this building.”

There were a lot of “hurdles,” as Kovac put it. There was the zoning, the neighbors, the local architecture review board, which sent an early design back according to Architect Jason Korb (“They pushed us to make it better, and I’m glad they did.”), and financing.

“I wish I could say it was easy,” said Wyman Winston, executive director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. “I can only say I’m honored to work with many of the people here.”

Those that spoke Thursday each had something unique to say about why they persisted for so many years. But the overarching ethos was singular and clear for all: Milwaukee needs affordable housing.

Nearly 70 percent of the building’s units are going to families and individuals that make 60 percent or less of the area median income. That’s 36 out of 53 units, and 14 of them are earmarked for those making 30 percent less than the area median income. The rest of the units are market rate.

So, rather than paying 50 percent or more for housing. The residents will be paying only about 30 percent of their income.

Winston said he crunched the numbers on the project and found that in one year, the total money Greenwich families will save is about $400,000, money which no longer will be competing with, “With their ability to put food on the table, put shoes on their babies,” he said. Millions of dollars will be saved for low income families over the lifetime of the building.

“Those are dollars that go back out into this community,” Winston said. Later adding, “It allows the ability for a family to maybe buy their kids a birthday present or maybe save for college.

The Greenwich project also set it’s sights on segregation. Kovac said of the East Side, his district, “We need to increase economic diversity, we need to increase occupational diversity, we need to increase racial diversity.”

Winston said this project “broke the mold,” because it’s not another low-income housing project that will, “reinforce segregation.”

Mayor Barrett said, “This community wants people of all incomes to be able to benefit in a way that we all want to benefit individually.”

One of Greenwich’s new residents illustrated the impact a housing project like Greenwich has. Wayne Porter, 51, was homeless for 3 years, and after going through programs like My Home, Your Home, and Friends of Housing he is among the first residents of Greenwich.

“My case manager mentioned this beautiful place, and I fell in love with it the first time I seen it.”

The apartment he has now is a long way from, “sleeping outside in bushes and cars and stuff like that.”

“The progress,” he said. “That’s moving forward instead of being stuck.”

Model Unit

2015 Design

2013 Design

2011 Design

2010 Design

Categories: Real Estate

One thought on “Finally, Greenwich Park Apartments Opens”

  1. Molly O says:

    It’ about time! Decent housing for low
    income people is sorely needed.
    I hope we see more project like this.

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