Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Melissa Allen Planning Harambee Development

Plus: A rundown of the week's real estate news.

By - Nov 22nd, 2020 02:58 pm
Melissa Allen speaks at a 2017 event. Photo by Justin Gordon.

Melissa Allen speaks at a 2017 event. Photo by Justin Gordon.

Developer Melissa Allen is pursuing a scattered-site affordable housing project in the city’s Harambee neighborhood.

Through her firm Maures Development Group, Allen would acquire a mix of city-owned and privately-owned properties to create affordable apartments through the state-administered federal low-income housing tax credit program.

Maures would acquire 12 vacant lots from the city and develop a combined 13 units of rental housing on them. Her firm would also acquire and rehabilitate seven city-owned properties with existing single-family or duplex homes, rehabilitating a combined 10 units of existing housing. Seven units of housing would be created or rehabilitated on the privately-owned properties for a project total of 30 units according to a city report.

“The developer also plans to create a community center in partnership with community partners,” said Department of City Development real estate services manager Amy Turim when the project was before the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee on Tuesday. A city report says the partner is the America’s Black Holocaust Museum for which Allen developed a new building in 2018.

The target properties are located in an area bounded by W. Chambers St., W. North Ave., N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. and N. 7th St.

In exchange for competitively-awarded credits provided to the developer, Maures would need set aside units at below-market rates for individuals making less than 60 percent of the Milwaukee County median income. The rent maximums are set at 30 percent of the income threshold.

Maures Development would be given a purchase option that expires at the end of 2021 unless extended. The credits would be applied for December 2020 and the annual award announcement is scheduled for April 2021.

“I think I’m in love with Harambee,” said Allen of the work she has done in the neighborhood.

Most recently, Allen, in partnership with developer Joshua Jeffers, redeveloped the former Garfield School and new The Griot apartment complex at the corner of N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. and W. North Ave. She also served as developer on the Heart and Hope Place development further north on N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. She estimated that she has created 114 units of housing and $30 million worth of investment in the area.

Allen said she has worked with an unidentified property owner for years to get the private properties included in the proposed deal. “I’m appreciative of him, after 10 years of talking, to let me get the real estate under contract,” said Allen. She declined to name the owner, but based on a map provided in the city report and assessment records it is Samuel Johnson.

If the credits are secured, it would be the third time Allen has led a scattered site housing development project.

The proposal has the backing of area Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs who praised Allen’s “proven track record.”

Each of the city-owned properties, acquired via property-tax foreclosure,, would be sold for $1.

The committee unanimously approved an exclusive right to negotiate. The full council will review the deal on Tuesday, November 24th.

Allen was involved with the city’s 2017 creation of the artist-house rehabilitation program targeted at houses in the area.

What happened to the name Melissa Goins? “I have been divorced forever and finally went back to my maiden name,” said Allen.


Weekly Recap

See How Miller Park Will Become American Family Field

The Milwaukee Brewers and the Southeastern Wisconsin Professional Baseball Ballpark District are preparing to transform Miller Park into American Family Field in 2021.

Named for American Family Insurance, the 15-year naming-rights deal replaces the 20-year agreement Molson Coors and its predecessors have held since the ballpark opened. American Family will pay approximately $4 million as part of the deal.

Permit applications are pending with the City of Milwaukee to replace four illuminated signs, and add at least one entirely new sign.

Read the full article

Wangard Clearing Harbor District Site for Future Development

Wangard Partners is demolishing a former heat treating plant along the Kinnickinnic River. The 2.3-acre property, 1958-1970 S. 1st. St., is at the southern edge of Walker’s Point and has long been used for industrial uses, most recently by Commercial Heat Treating.

In April 2019 a company representative told the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee that Wangard was planning to develop an approximately 200-unit apartment complex with first-floor commercial space on the Harbor District site. The council granted a zoning change to Wangard.

But firm chairman and CEO Stewart Wangard told Urban Milwaukee this week that the company won’t immediately advance those plans after demolition and is considering alternate uses. What might those other uses include? Wangard declined to elaborate.

Read the full article

Michels Launching Marine Division in Milwaukee

Infrastructure contractor Michels Corp. is advancing its second Harbor District investment.

The company kicked off construction of its $100 million, mixed-use River One development in 2019. The first phase of that project, an eight-story office building, is scheduled to open in the coming months with an apartment complex following soon thereafter. The office building will house Michels’ new civil infrastructure division. The development is located on an approximately six-acre site at the northwest corner of S. 1st St. and W. Becher St.

Now it will launch a marine division, known as Michels Marine, on a city-owned property a mile northeast. It’s leasing 17.4 acres of the city’s Grand Trunk site at 632 E. Bay St. for a period of up to 99 years. The initial term is 20 years.

Read the full article

300-Unit Bay View Project Gains Zoning

A proposal to develop a 300-unit apartment complex on the north end of Bay View secured committee approval Tuesday morning, clearing its last major hurdle from the city.

Bear Development plans to adaptively-reuse the century-old manufacturing buildings on the 10-acre site at 147 E. Becher St. The campus was built in phases for sawmill equipment manufacturer Filer & Stowell. Approximately two-thirds of the apartments would be set aside at below-market rates.

“Who would live there? It’s a wide variety of people with solid incomes that would be great additions to Bay View and the Harbor District,” said Bear president S.R. Mills when the proposal was before the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee.

Read the full article

New Plan To Replace MLK Library

A plan to redevelop the Milwaukee Public Library‘s Martin Luther King Library branch, 310 W. Locust St., might finally move forward after five years. But if it does, it will now be with an entirely different team than the project started with.

In 2016 the library awarded Young Development Group a contract to replace the one-story branch library with a mixed-use development. Developer Lavelle Young, a graduate of the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program, grew up across the street. The branch library is a single-story structure that opened in 1971. As it did with many other branch libraries, the city has looked to replace the aging structure with a development that pays property taxes and can provide a modern, efficient first-floor library.

But the developer, and a variety of partners, struggled to secure the necessary tax credits from multiple state and federal programs to finance the deal. At various points, Young sought to develop either a single new building, two new buildings or one new building and the redevelopment of the adjacent Garfield Theatre.

Read the full article

Riverwest Apartment Complex Planned

A partnership of General Capital Group and KG Development is poised to construct a new affordable housing development and food business accelerator on a vacant lot at 1136-1146 E. North Ave. in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.

The city listed the 1.34-acre site for sale in March via a request for proposals process. The site is just west of UW-Milwaukee’s RiverView student housing complex. A Pick ‘n Save grocery store is located on the other side of E. North Ave.

The Department of City Development is advancing the General Capital/KG proposal to the Common Council, having selected the development team from six bids. The developers would be given an exclusive right to purchase the site for $750,000 until December 31st, 2022.

Read the full article

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