Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

40 Affordable Homes for Washington Park

Developer plans to rehab 24 properties, including many duplexes, in one-mile radius.

By - Dec 10th, 2019 01:43 pm
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2460 W. Brown St., 2842 N. 30th St. Images from the City of Milwaukee.

2460 W. Brown St., 2842 N. 30th St. Images from the City of Milwaukee.

“We really want to do something more catalytic for the community,” said developer Michael Adetoro of his plan to scale up his firm, FIT Investment Group, in order to rehab 40 units of housing in Milwaukee’s Washington Park neighborhood.

The developer, a 2015 graduate of the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program designed to prepare minorities and women for careers in real estate, will partner with Tom Straub of CMS Contracting on the project.

“We both own property in the Washington Park area and we see this as an opportunity to grow,” said Adetoro in a presentation before the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee.

The city will sell the homes to FIT for $1 each. The package includes 24 properties: 11 single-family homes, 11 duplexes and two properties with three or four units.

The partners are relying on competitively-awarded low-income housing tax credits from the state. But unlike a similar proposal for 38 homes by Gorman & Company, the firm is relying on the four percent credits, instead of the nine percent credits.

Both Straub and Adetoro told the committee they have more than eight years experience doing scattered site housing, but at a smaller scale. Straub, whose firm does carpentry and drywall work, said he learned in part by working for Gorman. Adetoro, through firm Revive MKE, was a participant in the successful Milwaukee Employment/Renovation Initiative (MERI) that had six developers, including Gorman, complete 104 renovations near Sherman Park.

Straub would partner with the Northcott Neighborhood House jobs program that provides jobs and training for recently incarcerated individuals. “I grew up in the city, with a background similar to some of those guys,” said Straub.

“With us being a smaller outfit, we can do it quote, unquote the right way,” said Adetoro. Straub said a big part of that is finding homes close enough together so he can reduce the travel time between them during construction. “If I can get to three houses within minutes by walking instead of driving its a big help,” said the contractor.

Department of City Development real estate services manager Amy Turim said that all of the homes have been previously marketed for sale to owner occupants. But compared to the Gorman allotment, which included homes the city had owned for more than six years, the city acquired these properties in tax foreclosure much more recently. Many of homes have been city-owned since only 2017.

Adetoro, an electrical engineer for GE Healthcare, said the project has an $8.5 million budget. City documents indicate the partners hoped to find 50 units, but Adetoro said it’s become challenging to find available properties in the area.

In exchange for the credits, the Wisconsin Economic Development Authority requires the homes be rented at below-market rates for a period of 15 years.

The project is dependent on the credit allocation. Turim said other iterations of the project would be considered, including the planned second round of MERI, if the credits are not awarded.

The project has the support of area Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II. “I’m looking forward to going down Vliet, Galena and Cherry with all new development,” said Stamper. He’ll want to make sure to check out the side streets in his district: only one of the homes faces the three main streets.

One of the homes, 2441-2443 N. 44th St., was the site of a protest by Common Ground during the Fiserv Forum funding debate. The home, prior to being acquired in property tax foreclosure, was owned by Nationstar Mortage, for which Bucks owner Wesley Edens then served as chairman.

List of Properties

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Related Legislation: File 191294

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