Jeramey Jannene
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Community Within The Corridor Expects First Residents In July

Largest private affordable housing development in Wisconsin history nears completion.

By - May 27th, 2022 03:55 pm
A portion of The Community Within The Corridor development. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A portion of The Community Within The Corridor development. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A former Briggs & Stratton factory campus will welcome its first residents in the coming weeks as part of the largest one-time, private affordable housing development in Wisconsin history.

A partnership of Que El-AminMikal WesleyRayhainio Boynes and Roers Companies is redeveloping the vacant, 6.99-acre manufacturing campus at N. 32nd St. and W. Center St. The two-block campus lines the north side of W. Center St. just west of the 30th Street railroad corridor. A city report says, much of the six-building complex, the oldest portion of which dates back to 1906, has been vacant since the 1980s.

The Community Within The Corridor, as the $66 million redevelopment is known, will create 197 units of affordable housing in four buildings and more than 60,000 square feet of space for accessory uses. Most units will be set aside at below-market rates for individuals making less than 80% of the county’s median income for at least 30 years.

A leasing website is now live and includes details for studio, one, two, three and four bedroom floor plans, leasing rates and the ability to schedule a tour.

On Tuesday, Wesley told the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee that 67 units would be available in July. “We are in the process of leasing up the west end,” he said. All construction work is to be finished by December. “The project is moving along very well.”

Construction on the project began in February 2021. Wesley said 90% of the windows are installed, which is no small feat given the need to comply with historic standards to access preservation tax credits

The project will include 23,000 square feet of commercial space and 40,000 square feet of community and recreational space. Uses for those spaces, as of 2020, include a daycare, laundromat, grocer, gym, office space for Urban Underground, El-Amin’s Young Enterprising Society tech incubation program, Wesley’s Urbane Communities and Boynes’ Sharp Creatives.

The financing package for the project, based on a 2020 report, includes a variety of sources. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority is providing $19.7 million in low-income housing tax credits. The National Park Service and state are providing $17.43 million in historic preservation tax credits, which will require much of the historic nature of the complex to be preserved. Other funding sources include a bank loan, $1 million of the city’s federal Community Development Block Grant allocation and a $3.15 million developer-financed tax incremental financing (TIF) district. The district will effectively rebate increased property tax payments for a period of up to 20 years.

The design is being led by Continuum Architects + Planners and general contracting by Greenfire Management Services.

“The project is pretty much achieving the majority of the goals that have been set for it,” said compliance manager Carla Cross at the committee meeting. The development team, as a condition of the TIF agreement, is required to have 40% of the project’s work hours completed by unemployed or underemployed city residents participating in the Residents Preference Program (RPP), 25% of the construction contracts by value go to certified small business enterprise (SBE) firms and 18% of the professional services spending go to SBE firms. Data was available through March 31, with RPP percentages often rising later in the project due to the nature of the work.


Rendering and Site Plan

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