Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

SEVEN04 Place Takes Shape

Young developer Brandon Rule's first project rising at 7th and National.

By - Aug 17th, 2018 05:42 pm
SEVEN04 Place Construction. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

SEVEN04 Place Construction. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

After years of pushing, first-time developer Brandon Rule‘s dreams are becoming reality. In partnership with Impact Seven, Rule is developing an apartment building with affordable units at the northwest corner of S. 7th St. and W. National Ave.

“This moment’s huge for me because the thousands of hours I have put into becoming a developer finally manifested itself in this moment,” said Rule at the project’s groundbreaking in February. Just six months later, the 60-unit apartment building has topped out at four stories.

The developer is a graduate of the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program that has quietly created a pipeline for young, motivated minority developers

The now-demolished buildings on the 1.75-acre site at 704 W. National Ave. were used for storage by local grocer El Rey before the development team acquired the site. Prior to that some of the site was used by a dry cleaner, which left heavy environmental contamination. “A significant chunk of our financing is actually going into the dirt,” said Impact Seven’s Kristine Giornalista at a committee hearing on the project in November.

The project, which borders Interstate 43/94, will include a 66-stall surface parking lot. That lot will border the elevated highway, with the apartments pushed as far east on the site as possible. A plaza will be constructed at the corner of the site on W. National Ave. and N. 7th St. One of the old buildings on the site is being redeveloped as an amenity space for residents.

The new building will greatly aid the friendliness of walking down busy W. National Ave., something Rule certainly experienced countless times growing up in the neighborhood. While the building can’t heal the large scar caused by the I-94 freeway, it will at least make it a little more inviting to walk under the elevated monstrosity.

The apartment complex is expected to open in 2019.



A “Lasagna” of Partners

The list of project partners doesn’t stop at Rule Enterprises and Impact Seven. Catalyst Construction is building the building. Arc-Int Architecture is serving as the architect of record on the project.

Financing for the $12.6 million project gets even more complex. The project is receiving support from the City of Milwaukee via a developer-financed tax-incremental financing district ($575,000), Housing Trust Fund grant ($210,000) and HOME program grant ($500,000).

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority is providing $6.4 million in competitively-awarded low-income housing tax credits. They’re also providing a $1.6 million construction loan and a $1.48 million long-term loan. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation provided a $500,000 brownfield cleanup grant.

The credits are being acquired by UnitedHealthcare. Ellen Sexton, CEO of UnitedHealth Community Plan of Wisconsin, said the investment, done in partnership with Cinnaire and Minnesota Equity Fund, “is part of a company initiative to help people live healthier lives by connecting quality and affordable housing to better health.” The partners are making a series of affordable housing investments in the Great Lakes region.

Neighborworks is giving the project a $175,000 grant. The project is receiving a $750,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank. The development team is also deferring a portion of their development fee.

The project was supported by initial investments by LISC Milwaukee and Forward Community Investments.

At the February groundbreaking Milwaukee Department of City Development representative Maria Prioletta characterized the project’s partners as a “lasagna” given all the layers.

Terms of the TIF district require the development team to have 40 percent of the project “worker hours” completed by unemployed or under-employed city-certified participants in the Residents Preference Program. Qualifying small business enterprises are required to complete 25 percent of the project’s costs.

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