Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Press Release

City of La Crosse receives $217,900 state grant to support housing construction initiative

WEDC Secretary and CEO visits Fifth Ward Residences to celebrate housing initiative

By - Sep 26th, 2023 02:30 pm

LA CROSSE, WI. SEPT. 26, 2023 – The City of La Crosse is receiving a $217,900 state grant to convert a former Trane Company manufacturing site into apartments and townhomes on the north side of La Crosse.

The Idle Site Redevelopment Program from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) supports the construction of Fifth Ward Residences, a housing initiative consisting of two 72-unit apartment buildings and 14 townhomes. Located in the Lower Northside and Depot Neighborhood, which has the lowest socio-economic demographics of the entire city, this project aims to provide quality, affordable housing and catalyze economic development opportunities in the region.

“One of the top priorities of WEDC is to promote substantive local development by helping communities enhance their neighborhoods and establish firm foundations for ongoing economic growth,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “This housing initiative will not only allow current residents to thrive, but also provide space for La Crosse’s growing workforce to put down roots.”

Hughes and Department of Administration Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld toured the development Tuesday.

The Fifth Ward Residences housing project, owned by Marvin Wanders and Paul Borsheim through STIZO Development, LLC, is projected to have major positive impacts on the community. By transforming a vacant, blighted area into community-focused accessible housing, the initiative is set to improve the quality of life and opportunities for residents.

“The project, as envisioned, will help revitalize the Lower Northside and Depot Neighborhood by adding more housing opportunities, economic activities, and community benefits,” according to the La Crosse Area Development Corporation (LADCO), an economic development organization committed to improving quality of life and economic opportunities for La Crosse residents. “The Fifth Ward Residences will help strengthen La Crosse’s urban core by providing housing for young professionals and empty nesters alike, increasing the property base and creating a surge of reinvestment into this area by homeowners and businesses.”

While the site has been historically used for commercial and industrial projects, it has been underused for the past eight years. Funding from WEDC will aid in the construction of one of two 72-unit apartment buildings, 14 townhomes, and other amenities such as a recreation room, fitness center, and business center. Rents will range from approximately $799/month for studios, $1,199/month for one-bedroom units, and $1,250/month for two-bedroom units. This project will give homeowners that may want to sell their current properties due to flooding or accessibility issues the option to stay in the Lower Northside neighborhood in quality affordable housing.

Fifth Ward Residences is projected to increase the tax base for the city from approximately $35,000 to an estimated $445,000 annually. The project is expected to catalyze development in the area, encouraging businesses and residents to put down roots in the community.

WEDC’s Idle Site Redevelopment program supports redevelopment of large commercial, institutional, or industrial sites that have been idle, abandoned, or underused for more than 5 years. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need, and use of sustainable development practices.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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