Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

37th Street School Finds New Life

Conversion of long-vacant school to affordable housing is underway.

By - Jan 15th, 2021 05:01 pm
37th Street School. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

37th Street School. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A long-vacant school will soon become 49 apartments.

Built in 1903, the 37th Street School has been vacant since 2006. Now construction is well underway to transform the former Milwaukee Public Schools building into housing.

Heartland Housing and Community First are partnering on the Washington Park neighborhood development.

Forty-three of the 49 apartments, many carved out from similar floor plans as the classrooms, will be set aside at below-market rates for individuals aged 55 and above earning no more than 60% of the Milwaukee County median income. Within the affordable units there will be a variety of income caps and units set aside for military veterans.

Greenfire Management Services is leading the general contracting. Landon Bone Baker Architects is leading the design.

Amenities in the project include raised bed gardens, a community room with kitchenette, exercise room, walking trail, outdoor patio and a laundry room on every floor. The development team engaged the neighbors to identify amenity preferences.

The project was first proposed in 2017, but it took years to secure financing. The bulk of the financing package consists of low-income housing tax credits. The city is also contributing $460,000 via a developer-financed tax incremental financing district.

The city’s TIF district would effectively provide a rebate on any property taxes generated by the project over 20 years, not to exceed the base grant amount plus 5.5% interest. The deal places the risk on the developer and has increasingly been used to plug financing gaps in affordable housing projects.

The project’s financing package also relies on historic preservation tax credits, $135,000 from the city’s Housing Trust Fund, $200,000 in city HOME funds and $645,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago’s affordable housing program.

As part of the city financing agreement and anti-displacement program, 20% of the units will be set aside for existing area residents.

The project was originally scheduled to be completed in 2021. Construction work started in 2020.

MPS was paid $210,000 for the building, addressed as 1715 N. 37th St.

It’s not the only project on the block. Contractors could be spotted gutting homes at 1714-1716 N. 37th St. and 1726-1728 N. 37th St. Both are part of a scattered-site affordable housing development by Gorman & Co.


Pre-Construction Photos and Rendering

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