Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

10 City Affordable Housing Projects Win State Financing

Will create 713 units in eight different neighborhoods. But huge Bay View project loses out.

By - Apr 27th, 2021 05:13 pm
Former Edison Middle School. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Former Edison Middle School. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Ten proposed affordable housing projects for Milwaukee secured critical financing awards Tuesday, but the biggest project of them all was put on hold.

A total of 13 Milwaukee projects representing 959 affordable apartments were submitted for low-income housing tax credits in January. But with 54 projects submitted statewide, there aren’t enough credits available to satisfy the demand.

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) awarded $35.1 million in state and federal credits to 33 housing projects in 19 communities. The 10 Milwaukee projects will create 713 affordable units.

The winning Milwaukee projects include two projects from KG Development, Five Points Lofts and Riverwest Workforce Apartments & Food Accelerator, as well as projects from other developers in the Harambee, Concordia, Carver Park, Westlawn, Westown and Old North Milwaukee neighborhoods.

But a large Bay View project, the redevelopment of the Filer & Stowell complex at 147 E. Becher St., was put on hold. Bear Development could elect to resubmit the project next year or reconfigure the project.

“If Wisconsin is to thrive, our workforce, our families and our most vulnerable residents require access to safe, affordable housing,” said WHEDA CEO Joaquín Altoro in a statement. “As these needs continue to evolve, WHEDA is adapting its programs and strengthening critical partnerships with developers, lenders, local housing groups, community leaders and elected officials. Addressing Wisconsin’s longstanding housing gap demands innovation and collaboration.”

The credits are the most common tool used to create affordable housing in Wisconsin and require developers to set aside a pre-determined number of units at a discounted rate for those making no more than 80 percent of the area’s median income. The rental rate structure, tailored to different income thresholds and credit allocations, is designed to cap rents at 30 percent of an individual’s or family’s income.

The developers, who range from big, for-profit firms to small, non-profit agencies, can utilize the credits to offset, dollar-for-dollar, their tax liability. More often, the credits are sold to large institutions at an approximately 10 percent discount to their stated value. The proceeds from the sale create equity for the projects. In Milwaukee, additional funding sources are often used to provide the necessary equity to advance the projects.

Two different competitive grant programs exist. One provides a 9% federal tax credit and the other provides a 4% federal and 4% state income tax credit. Capacity on both programs is limited by federal credit allocations provided to the state and the state’s allocation of matching credits for the 4% program.

The credit amounts, detailed below, are awarded annually for a 10-year period (six years for the state share of the 4% credit). In exchange, developers agree to set aside the units at below-market rates to qualifying residents for a period of at least 30 years.

Projects in the city were allocated credits for 520 units in 2019 and 317 units in 2020. Totals do not include the market-rate units in each development.

Winning Milwaukee Projects

Five Points Lofts

Bronzeville Scattered Sites

  • Status: Awarded $514,587
  • Developer: Maures Development Group
  • Units: 30 (Affordable: 25)
  • Type: Mixed (New Construction – Acquisition/Rehab)
  • Credit Request: $514,587
  • Program: 9% Federal
  • Location: Harambee neighborhood
  • Learn More

Bethesda Cornerstone Village – Highland

Riverwest Workforce Apartments & Food Accelerator

Michigan Street Commons

  • Status: Awarded $1,753,112
  • Developer: Bear Development
  • Units: 140 (Affordable: 140)
  • Type: New Construction
  • Credit Request: $2,015,000
  • Program: 4% State & Federal
  • Location: W. Michigan St. and N. James Lovell St.
  • Learn More

Edison School Apartments

Townhomes at Carver Park

Westlawn Renaissance V

  • Status: Awarded $930,677
  • Developer: Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee
  • Units: 44 (Affordable: 44)
  • Type: New Construction – Supportive
  • Credit Request: $930,677
  • Program: 9% Federal
  • Location: N. 64th St. and W. Silver Spring Dr.

Westlawn Renaissance VII

  • Status: Awarded $2,244,267
  • Developer: Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee
  • Units: 97 (Affordable: 87)
  • Type: New Construction
  • Credit Request: $2,685,355
  • Program: 4% State & Federal
  • Location: N. 64th St. and W. Silver Spring Dr.

MLK Library Apartments

  • Status: Awarded $1,964,330
  • Developer: General Capital Group – Emem Group
  • Units: 93 (Affordable: 93)
  • Type: New Construction
  • Credit Request: $2,261,316
  • Program: 4% State & Federal
  • Location: 310 W. Locust St. – Martin Luther King Library
  • Learn More

On Hold Or Ineligible Projects

Garden District Apartments

Century Building – Phase II

  • Status: On Hold
  • Developer: Crown Court Properties
  • Units: 38 (Affordable: 32)
  • Type: Adaptive Reuse – Nonprofit Set Aside
  • Credit Request: $644,659
  • Program: 9% Federal
  • Location: 808 N. Old World Third St.
  • Learn More

Filer & Stowell Machine Shop Lofts

Filer & Stowell Foundry Lofts

  • Status: Ineligible
  • Developer: Bear Development
  • Units: 78 (Affordable: 66)
  • Type: Adaptive Reuse
  • Credit Request: $1,308,250
  • Program: 4% State & Federal
  • Location: 147 E. Becher St.
  • Learn More

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