Graham Kilmer
MKE County

120 New Homes for King Park Neighborhood

County, CDA select Emem Group and Habitat as developers.

By - Nov 4th, 2022 03:55 pm
New houses rise along W. Harmon St. in Josey Heights. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

New houses rise along W. Harmon St. in Josey Heights. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A Milwaukee County project to develop 120 new, affordable homes in the King Park neighborhood in the city of Milwaukee is moving forward.

In February, Gov. Tony Evers announced that Milwaukee County would receive $10.5 million from the state’s ARPA allocation. The county is planning to use $6.5 million to develop 120 new single-family homes on currently vacant lots in the neighborhood and $1.5 million for the rehabilitation of the King Park Community Center.

The Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) partnered with the Community Development Alliance (CDA) to issue a request for proposals (RFP) from developers that can build the homes. On Friday, CDA announced the selection of Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity and the Emem Group as the winning developers.

The ARPA funds will be used to fill the cost gap between building a new house versus the eventual purchase price. “Without ARPA funds, you wouldn’t be able to make these affordable,” said  James Mathy, Housing Division director, in an interview. The new, three-bedroom homes will cost approximately $190,000 to build and be sold for $110,000 or less. The Habitat homes (80) will be immediately sold, while the Emem houses (40) will be leased for a period of 15 years at affordable rates through the low-income housing tax credit program before being sold.

The homes will be marketed to Black and minority first-time homebuyers. The homeownership gap between white and Black Milwaukeeans is among the worst in the nation when compared to peer cities, according to a report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum. The project is another that fits into the county’s strategic plan to achieve racial equity.

County Executive David Crowley has noted this disparity when discussing housing in the county, stating, “The foundation of housing is one of the main social determinants of health, and there still remains a large gap as relates to homeownership for African-Americans throughout Milwaukee.”

This will be the first “project of scale” that directly tackles homeownership, Mathy said. The project is also one of a series of major investments the county is making in the neighborhood.

The county recently opened the new Mental Health Emergency Center at 1525 N. 12th St. The $12 million facility was developed in partnership with Ascension WisconsinAdvocate Aurora HealthFroedtert Health and Children’s Wisconsin. The new emergency center is part of a long-term overhaul of mental health system in Milwaukee County and was critical to the closure of the Mental Health Complex in Wauwatosa.

The Milwaukee County Board also recently approved $32.3 million in county ARPA funding for a new $42 million human services building that will be constructed on the site of the current Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Building. Early plans indicate the Coggs building will need to be razed to make way for the new development.

CDA released a report in September 2021 that calls for 32,000 new Black and Latino homeowners across 30 years and identifies gaps within Milwaukee’s current housing marketplace for both owner-occupants and renters. CDA reports that 40% of Milwaukee’s inventory of homes valued at $125,000 or less are now owned by investors. An earlier report from the Marquette University Law School found that since 2005 the number of single-family and duplex houses owned by out-of-state landlords in Milwaukee has quadrupled.

The initial CDA report found that in the Milwaukee area white residents are twice as likely to own their home as Black residents and 1.4 times more likely than Latino residents.

Jeramey Jannene contributed to this report

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

Categories: Real Estate, Weekly

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us