Wisconsin

Bank to Invest in Loft Project


$4.8 MILLION TO FINANCE WORK AT OLD PABST SITE

An apartment building under construction at the former Pabst brewery site is getting a $4.8 million investment from a Cleveland-based bank.

A subsidiary of National City Bank is buying tax credits used to help finance construction of the 95-unit Blue Ribbon Lofts, bank spokeswoman Terri Wilson said Monday.

The transaction will give National City a 49% stake in the development, she said. The project’s other major equity investor is Great Lakes Capital Fund, based in Lansing, Mich., Wilson said.

Federal affordable housing tax credits, as well as federal and state historic preservation tax credits, were given to Gorman & Co., the project’s developer. Those credits are usually sold by developers to banks and other investors to raise equity financing for projects.

In return for historic preservation credits, developers agree to restore older buildings according to strict design and construction guidelines.

To receive affordable housing credits, developers must lease apartments – at below-market rents – to people earning no more than 60% of the Milwaukee area’s median income. For a one-person household, that maximum income is $28,200.

At Blue Ribbon Lofts, 69 of the apartments will be available for qualified rents, with rents ranging from $549 to $810, said Chris Laurent, Gorman’s Wisconsin market president. The 26 market-rate apartments will rent from $899 to $1,250, he said.

Gorman, based in Oregon, Wis., is converting the 138,000-square-foot former Pabst keg house, at 901 W. Winnebago St., into the lofts. The apartments are among the first wave of projects as part of real estate investor Joseph Zilber’s plan to redevelop the 21-acre former brewery.

The $15.8 million project is scheduled to begin opening apartments by December, with the entire project completed in May, Laurent said.