Milwaukee

Hotel, apartments, breweries bring next round of Pabst developments to downtown Milwaukee

Written by Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Much has happened during the former Pabst brewery’s decade of redevelopment: a hotel at the former brew house, apartments in both new and renovated historic buildings, a university facility and other projects have revived empty structures and vacant lots.

But the picture won’t be complete until early 2019, with more than 430 additional apartments, a 150-room hotel and two new breweries highlighting the final development surge.

When that last phase is done, the 21-acre site, now called The Brewery, will include more than 800 apartments, two hotels, three office buildings, restaurants and taverns, as well as new streets and even two small parks — blending what was an isolated former industrial site into Milwaukee’s downtown.

The completed $100 million project, helped by $32 million in city financing, expands downtown Milwaukee’s footprint west from the site of the Milwaukee Bucks new arena and marks another huge addition to the ongoing downtown development boom.

The Brewery hasn’t drawn as much national attention as it deserves, said Robert Greenstreet, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

“This is a staggering success story,” said Greenstreet, who also served as Milwaukee’s city planner from 2004 to 2009.

“I feel like it’s going to be a whole different place” within two years, said local developer Josh Jeffers, whose BrewLab Lofts will be among those new apartment buildings.

Added developer Mike Zukerman, “It’s really remarkable what’s going on there.”

Zukerman’s firm, New York-based Whitestone Realty Capital LLC, is converting the former Pabst malt house into 118 high-end apartments, known as The Brewery Lofts, 1009 W. Juneau Ave.

The project involves demolishing most of the interior and building seven new floors with new fixtures and restored windows.

That work was more complicated than anticipated.

The Brewery Lofts, originally due to open this summer, are now expected to open in early 2018, Zukerman said. He declined to disclose the increased project budget, which was initially estimated at $34 million.

The project’s financing includes federal and state historic preservation tax credits, which cover part of the restoration costs in return for following strict construction guidelines.

The one- and two-bedroom units will have monthly rents from around $1,600 to $2,000.

Two other apartment developments are to begin construction soon. Combined with Zukerman’s project, they will more than double the number of units at The Brewery.

Jeffers plans to begin work in July on converting two adjoined buildings at 1037 W. McKinley Ave. into 43 apartments. He bought the three-story buildings from Cardinal Stritch University, which is moving its College of Education and Leadership from the larger building to the university’s main Fox Point campus.

The smaller building has been vacant since Pabst Brewing Co. closed its operations in 1996 but since has been partially renovated. Pabst used both buildings for its research labs.

The $8 million project BrewLab Lofts is to be completed by March 31. The financing includes historic preservation tax credits.

The one- and two-bedroom apartments, including studio units, will have monthly rents from around $1,200 to $1,900.

Also, Indianapolis-based Milhaus Development is proceeding with its plans to build 274 apartments within two five-story buildings,  at 926 W. Juneau Ave. and 1003 W. Winnebago St. Those two locations are one block apart.

Milhaus plans to complete its purchase of the vacant parcels and begin construction this month, said Greg McHenry, director of development.

The $40 million project would likely have its first units available by summer 2018, with both buildings completed by spring 2019, McHenry said.

The Juneau Ave. building would feature 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 110 apartments on the upper floors. The Winnebago St. building would have 164 apartments and a ground-floor leasing office and common amenities.

The development would include 27 apartments with around 350 to 400 square feet and monthly rents below $1,000. Those so-called micro units are a growing trend in Milwaukee and other cities.

The remaining units, ranging from studios to three-bedroom apartments, would have rents of around $1,300 to $2,400.

Both the Milhaus buildings and Brewery Lofts will provide parking for residents at The Brewery’s 900-space central parking structure. BrewLab Lofts has a surface parking lot.

Other apartment developments at The Brewery are Eleven25 at Pabst student housing, developed in the former bottling house; Frederick Lofts; Blue Ribbon Lofts, developed in the former keg house; and Brewery Point senior apartments. Those buildings total just under 400 units.

Meanwhile, construction recently started on a six-story, 150-room Hyatt Place hotel at 821 W. Winnebago St. Deerfield, Ill.-based Janko Group plans to have the $27 million project completed by summer 2018.

It will be the second hotel at The Brewery. The 90-room Brewhouse Inn and Suites opened in 2013 in the former Pabst brewhouse.

Finally, The Brewery has an actual brewery, the first there since Pabst closed its operations more than 20 years ago, with another brewery on the way.

Los Angeles-based Pabst Brewing in April opened its Milwaukee brewery, restaurant and taproom at 1037 W. Juneau Ave., within the former Pabst training center and Forst Keller tavern.

The new $5 million Pabst brewery serves as a place to experiment with new beers and historical Pabst recipes.

Renovations are to begin this month on converting part of the former Pabst distribution center, 1131 N. 8th St., into a craft brewery operated by Milwaukee Brewing Co., as well as a restaurant, events venue and offices.

That 46,000-square-foot brewery, including a tasting room, is scheduled to open in May 2018, said Jim McCabe, Milwaukee Brewing owner. The company will continue to operate its smaller Walker’s Point brewery.

An adjacent restaurant, including a rooftop dining area, and events venue will total around 30,000 square feet and likely open next May, said building owner Scott Lurie. He said the restaurant and venue operator’s name will be announced soon.

The building also will feature around 50,000 square feet of offices, Lurie said.

The former distribution center’s redevelopment includes a self-storage center on the building’s lower level owned by White Plains, N.Y.-based Highland Development Ventures LLC. Known as Extra Space Storage, it will open around June 30, said Adam Hird, Highland managing partner.

Other office buildings at The Brewery include a former boiler house and the newly built Pabst Professional Center. Each has around 40,000 square feet.

The Brewery also features the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health, which combined a former Pabst warehouse with new construction, and Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, which includes a tavern, banquet rooms and a gift shop in the former Pabst offices and visitors center.

City spending to help finance The Brewery’s parking structure, street repairs, environment cleanup, demolition and other expenses have so far totaled $26 million and will likely eventually reach $32 million, said Jeff Fleming, Department of City Development spokesman. Those funds are being repaid through property taxes from The Brewery’s buildings.

The city debt will be paid off by 2032, according to a department estimate. The new property taxes will then go to the city’s general fund, Milwaukee Public Schools and other local governments.

The Pabst site was valued at $9.3 million before Zilber Ltd., led by the late Joseph Zilber, started the redevelopment work in 2007. The new and renovated buildings have so far created $64.2 million in additional property value, with a total new value of $98.9 million expected when the entire site is completely redeveloped, Fleming said.

Zilber bought most of the Pabst site in 2006, vowing to create “a great neighborhood, where people will want to live, work and shop.” An earlier attempt led by Wispark LLC to create PabstCity, a mixed-use project that included an entertainment focus, failed to win Common Council support for its $41 million city financing plan.

The council did Milwaukee a favor by rejecting that plan, said Greenstreet. He was then city planner in Mayor Tom Barrett’s administration, which pushed hard for PabstCity.

City officials supported PabstCity because it was the only viable plan for the crumbling brewery buildings, Greenstreet said. But that proposal would have involved demolishing more historic buildings than those eventually preserved under Zilber’s involvement, he said.

Zilber’s decision to take on the project as his legacy to Milwaukee was a blessing, Greenstreet said.

“Without Zilber, that would just be a collapsing site now,” he said.

Zilber’s conceptual plans for The Brewery called for fewer apartments, and more office and retail space, than has been developed. That shift to more housing is tied to the growing trend of both baby boomers and millennials living in urban areas, which has helped spark an unprecedented downtown Milwaukee development boom.

The Brewery’s completion, along with the new Milwaukee Bucks arena and other large downtown projects, will likely help spur investment to other nearby sites, said Larry Witzling, a longtime planner at Graef consulting firm.

“The big question is: how fast and where will it spread?” said Witzling, who helped create plans for the neighboring Park East area.

Tom Daykin can be reached at tdaykin@jrn.com

Tiny houses project for young adults in Milwaukee advances

By   –  Reporter, Milwaukee Business Journal

 

Construction could start next spring on the first of 36 tiny houses in Milwaukee that will put a roof over young adults’ heads while they train for stable jobs.

Those houses would be built over a three-year span at 4200 N. Humboldt Blvd. on green space that belongs to the Milwaukee Area Technical College. Milwaukee County currently has more than 100 young people who would be eligible to live in the houses, said Tim Baack, president and CEO of Pathfinders, the Milwaukee social services organization that is part of the project team.

They are designed for people ages 18 to 25 who aged out of the local foster care safety net, but still need help finding stable employment, or other services.

“Without adequate housing, it becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, for someone to be trained and get a job, and keep a job, to have their social and emotional well-being taken care of,” Baack said. “Housing really needs to come first so that stability and safety is present. From there, all else becomes more possible.”

The 300- to 350-square-foot houses, each with their own kitchens and bathrooms, would create that stability. Milwaukee County’s Housing Division would help cover rent payments while residents work toward a steady job.

The small-scale neighborhood would be built within walking distance of Pathfinders’ building, where other support will be available.

The tiny houses is a collaboration between Pathfinders, Milwaukee County and developer Gorman & Co. Inc., which is doing pro bono work to support the development. It gained a first city endorsement Monday from Milwaukee’s Plan Commission.

Ted Matkom, Wisconsin market president for Gorman & Co., said the houses will cost about $80,000 apiece to build. Construction could start in April 2018. Money is in place for the first 12 houses, including a $100,000 grant from Milwaukee County’s Housing Division. If more money is raised before next spring, more houses could break ground next year, he said.

The team members hope to have all 36 tiny houses built over a three-year span.

Pathfinders secured a three-year state award of $250,000 annually for services to support people who will live in the houses. That will also cover the salaries of two service providers, one of whom will live in a tiny house to provide on-site support, Baack said.

The end goal is to have residents transition out of the houses after securing steady jobs. Gorman & Co. would provide construction job training through its ongoing campaign to rehab foreclosed single-family houses in the city of Milwaukee. The developer has been doing those home rehabs for several years.

How Milwaukee’s Northside Housing Initiative Is Keeping the Neighborhood Affordable

 

How do you revitalize a neighborhood that’s faced years of vacancy and disinvestment without displacing the people who call it home? It’s a problem that Milwaukee’s Northside Housing Initiative has been tackling for the last eight years.

1914 home restorationA 1914 home was restored in 2013.

The Northside Housing Initiative (NHI), a project of national developer Gorman & Company, is in the business of restoring tax foreclosed houses. Formerly a booming neighborhood for industrial workers, the north side has seen high rates of vacancy in recent years, following the national housing crisis and the Great Recession. As part of the still-ongoing initiative, the city of Milwaukee acquires foreclosed houses for $1 and donates them to the NHI, which carefully refurbishes them over the course of about six months. Not all of the houses are historic, but roughly 20 percent date from 1910 to 1925, and their styles range from bungalows to Queen Anne to Victorian Revival.

“You do find some that are really in pretty good shape, they still have some pretty good bones to them,” says Marc Ott, lead architect for the Wisconsin market at Gorman, of the historic homes refurbished as part of the initiative. “And then of course you find some that are in the far, complete opposite end, really not habitable at all.”

He says that making sure that the heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems are safe and up to code takes top priority in the rehab projects. Gorman & Company has completed eight phases of the initiative thus far, with a ninth slated for the spring of 2017. They’ve refurbished over 300 structures, including single-family homes and duplexes, to date, taking advantage of low-income tax credits to help finance the work.

Ott says that keeping the historic fabric of the neighborhood intact is also something that the NHI strives for. “We do take time and research the whole block and try to make sure it [the house] fits in and the color scheme is appropriate and etcetera,” he says.

One of the project’s essential components is a workforce development program, in partnership with the Northcott Neighborhood House, a local nonprofit that works with low-income or out-of-work community members. Northcott keeps a list of re-entry candidates who have committed felonies and are trying to get back on their feet post-incarceration, and works with NHI to train interested individuals in the areas of carpentry, electrical, HVAC, or plumbing, as well as providing them with a core curriculum at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Ted Matkom, Wisconsin Market President at Gorman & Company, explains that at the end of their training, people in the program have an opportunity to pursue an apprenticeship in their field of choice.

1910 home before

A duplex built in 1910 gets restored in 2012.

1910 home after

“Our goal is to have them pass the competency test to get into an apprenticeship in those trades,” he says. “Once they pass that, with our credit from the training program, they can get an apprenticeship job with a local union.”

The north side of Milwaukee has seen a shift in recent years due to the new Century City project, a formerly vacant A.O. Smith car parts factory that the city is in the process of transforming into an office park, at an estimated cost of around $40 million. While the new development should be economically beneficial for the area in theory, the city doubled down on its commitment to keeping longtime residents from being pushed out of the neighborhood by rising housing costs by partnering with the Northside Housing Initiative to rehab homes in direct proximity to Century City. It’s part of a larger plan to keep the North Side affordable for those whose families, in some cases, have called it home for generations.

“You can really see that this was probably the quintessential working neighborhood back in the ‘20s and ‘30s and ‘40s, with all the industry that was happening in Milwaukee,” Ott says. “Unfortunately, through the years and economics and whatnot, they’ve just transitioned, and people weren’t able to keep them up.”

For residents like Willie Bounds, who has called Milwaukee home his whole life, the house he’s renting through the Northside Housing Initiative provides more than enough room for him and his daughter. “I’ve never had a house with a basement before,” he says, laughing. “I really love the extra space.” He pays $950 a month for a four-bedroom, four-bathroom house.

“It really gives a lot of pride to the neighborhood,” Ott says of the project’s benefits. “It’s one thing to give someone housing. If you can give someone good quality housing that they’re proud to bring people back to—it’s been very fulfilling to see, as we work through these nine phases, how we evolve, how the community’s kind of taken hold of it, been proud of it.”

FREDERICK LOFTS REPRESENTS “TIPPING POINT” FOR CITY

At the dedication of 100-unit market-rate apartment building at the former Pabst Brewery, mayor hopeful for continued growth of downtown housing.

By Michael Horne, Urban Milwaukee, August 13th, 2015

MILWAUKEE - There was a time that when you referred to a city’s “Tipping Point,” you were talking about a catalytic event that led to a community’s decline. Today, the phrase, as applied to the City of Milwaukee, has a different connotation, says Mayor Tom Barrett.

“Milwaukee is at a tipping point,” he told a group of 50 people gathered Wednesday at the dedication of the Frederick Lofts, 840 W. Juneau Ave. “Not a negative tipping point, but a positive tipping point.”

The 100-unit apartment building was developed by Gorman & Company, Inc. at the east end of the former Pabst Brewery.

Prior to the purchase of the long-vacant brewery site by the Zilber Group, “there was no reason to come here,” the mayor said. In fact, the place was so desolate that “even the bad guys wouldn’t come here,” he added.

But today, “what is happening literally before our eyes are young people and the young at heart coming downtown. It’s a national phenomenon,” the mayor said. “Downtown is 3.6% of the landmass and 18% of the tax base” of the city, he said.

As if on cue, the sidewalks outside began to fill with workers from downtown office buildings as they left work, heading to their homes, some in The Brewery neighborhood itself. Gorman & Company developed the adjacent Blue Ribbon Lofts apartment building out of the former Pabst Keg House. In addition, Gorman developed the Brewhouse Inn & Suites one block west. The new development is immediately south of the Brewery Point Apartments, a senior living community.

Ald. Bob Bauman, whose 4th district represents that 18% of the city’s tax base, and is the focus of its tipping point, joked that “groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings are getting routine.”

Ted Matkom, the Wisconsin Market President for Gorman, said the site “was the poster child for blight in Milwaukee.” He recounted the failed attempt to turn the area into an entertainment district that would have required the demolition of many buildings. Such entertainment districts did not survive the great recession, he said. After that effort failed, Joe Zilber declared that the Pabst site “was going to be my legacy.”

Things were tough at first, Matkom said. Some 30 restaurateurs turned down a chance to open what is now Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub at the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, including what he called “all the big players.” Today, Jackson’s, run by Mark Zierath, who was in the audience (and who catered the event) “is killing it!” Matkom said. The Blue Ribbon Lofts, dating to 2008, are “100% occupied,” he said. The 90-room hotel has some of the top rates in the city,” and hopes are high for the Frederick Lofts.

As Bauman noted, the location is a success despite being in sight of the County Jail and a state secure detention facility.

John Kersey, the Zilber Group Vice President said “We would not have imagined market-rate housing when we started this thing.”

Today, market rate at the Frederick Lofts starts at $1,350 for studios and $1,790 for a two bedroom unit.

Three models were on display, and I toured them with Gary Gorman, the president of the firm that developed and owns the property. This is 100% new construction, with high-end features like granite countertops and floor-to-ceiling windows. A live-work unit of 696 square feet has a sliding partition that separates the work unit, accessible from the street, from the live unit. For those eager go-getters who like to bound out of the bedroom and straight into the kitchen for a hearty breakfast, there is no door between the two rooms to slow things down.

Gorman noted the floors of the units, which are uniform throughout, and consist of a wood-grain pattern and texture. The material is described in the sales material as “luxury hard surface plank in natural wood,” but it is a vinyl type product. Gorman says from experience, he has to replace carpets every three years, and this material should be more durable. I would rather it express its inner vinylness rather than masquerade as wood, and I found the texture to be unnecessary.

Among the attendees was Jim Haertel, who owns Best Place across the street. He now has 35 employees. His wife Nancy says their facility is nearly completely booked for 2016, including for the wedding of Urban Milwaukee CEO Jeramey Jannene and Alison Peterson and is now taking reservations for 2017. One of the couple’s favorite weddings of 2015 was that of Ald. Nik Kovac and Grace Fuhr in July, where guests arrived by bicycle. Dan McCarthy, who was instrumental in the development of the project, (and was on the wrong side of the Pabst City plan) was there as was banker Jon Mulcahy. Also in attendance was Joy Smith, a resident of the Blue Ribbon Lofts who writes a neighborhood newsletter.

The building has a nice rooftop deck with a kitchenette, and a number of people were gathered there during the event. The building has a partial green roof of sedum that looks in fine shape for a recent installation. The bioswales outside seem to have done their work during recent heavy downpours, as evidenced by the line of silt seen on some of the plants there.

The final word on the tipping point came from the mayor, who said “my wife wants to move downtown!” Barrett says that may happen soon, once the kids are out of the house.

The Brewery’s 100-Unit Frederick Lofts

By , UrbanMilwaukee.com, May 8th, 2015

Not so many years ago, the Pabst Brewing Complex was a ghost town at all hours of the day. The abandoned brewery, which abruptly closed its doors in 1997, served as a highly visible reminder of Milwaukee’s industrial past, looming over Interstate 43 with unused smokestacks and silos. Then in 2006, Joseph Zilber stepped in to buy the complex, rebranding it “The Brewery” and set out to build an entire neighborhood within it.

Gorman & Company has been an important partner of Zilber Ltd in the creation of The Brewery. The Oregon, Wisconsin-based firm has developed the 90-room Brewhouse Inn & Suites hotel in the former brewhouse building and the 95-unit Blue Ribbon Lofts apartments in the former keg house. With many of the historic structures renovated (or in the process of being so), Gorman has now started developing new buildings in the area.

Gorman’s 100-unit Frederick Lofts apartment building is scheduled to open this summer at the northeast corner of W. Juneau Ave. and N. 9th St. The privately-financed project will feature exclusively market-rate apartments. The project is named after Pabst namesake Captain Frederick Pabst. From 1875 to 1892 Pabst lived in a home on the site. Prior to that (and before mechanical refrigeration) tunnels were installed underneath the site to keep beer cold; construction crews found those tunnels on accident last April.

 

This residential project will take advantage of the recently rebuilt W. Juneau Ave., which was converted from a street designed for beer delivery trucks to a more human-scaled boulevard like Broadway in the Historic Third Ward.

Residents of the project will be able to park in an underground parking facility or in a surface lot behind the L-shaped building.

Frederick Lofts residents might soon find themselves with new neighbors as the new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks are seeking to build their own neighborhood just east of the The Brewery in the Park East corridor.

 

Gorman teams up with Northcott to rebuild depressed Milwaukee Neighborhood

Click on the link below to read the article on Gorman’s Northside Neighborhoods as published on the Wheda Transform Milwaukee website:

Gorman teams up with Northcott to rebuild depressed Milwaukee neighborhood, Wheda Transform Milwaukee website, 2-2015

Gorman & Company Begins 7th Phase of Milwaukee Northside Housing Initiative

Tax Credit Advisor, January 2015

In early October Gorman & Company broke ground in Milwaukee on the 7th phase of its nationally-acclaimed scattered site, single family home redevelopment.

Gorman & Company’s Northside Housing Initiative is a partnership with the City of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). Its goal is to resuscitate challenged neighborhoods that have been devastated by the foreclosure crisis. Foreclosed, boarded-up properties are rehabbed into high-quality rental housing. In addition, newly constructed homes are built on vacant lots that residents consider the “broken teeth” of their neighborhood.

This innovated housing initiative also focuses on training  chronically unemployed people from the affected zip codes. The City of Milwaukee offers critical support for the project by assembling the individual properties and contributing them to the initiative.

Forest Home Library Replacement Decided, Mill Road Deferred

By Michael Horne, Urban Milwaukee, Dec 18, 2014

The Forest Home branch of the Milwaukee Public Library would move to a historic building, according to a vote by the Board of Trustees of the Milwaukee Public Library on Wednesday, December 17th.

The winning proposal by Gorman & Co / Mitchell Investment Properties VJS Construction calls for replacing the Forest Home branch library with a location in the historic Hill building at 930 W. Mitchell St.

The alternative plan under consideration, advanced by Cardinal Capital Group / Journey House, called for new construction on S. Cesar Chavez Drive. That proposal drew considerable community support at a public hearing held by the library’s Building Committee at the Forest Home Library on Tuesday, December 2nd.

However, it had many more moving parts than the relatively straightforward Mitchell Street proposal.

The Cardinal Capital / Journey House plan called for the demolition of an existing dental office building on the busy shopping street and replacing it with the library and coffee shop at the street level. In addition, it called for the development of subsidized housing above as well as rather inexplicit investments in properties in the immediate neighborhood. The proposal had the support of Ald. Jose Perez, whose district encompasses both of the proposed locations.

The Gorman proposal offered a nearly move-in-ready building, market rate apartments, and Historic Tax Credits.

The Gorman plan, too, has a number of parts, but they are well greased. The Historic Tax Credit program has proven to be a most effective lubricant when you’re fracking for capital.

But you need a historic building first to mine this golden egg, and a demolished Dental Associates clinic would not fit the bill.

The building committee, when it earlier considered the proposals, did not meet a resolution of the matter, and it came before the full board, although both proposals had been declared dead by some reports.

The 12 member library board is chaired by John Gurda, who took time after the meeting (writing from the library) to share these comments with Urban Milwaukee readers about the board’s decision:

“… We approved Gorman & Co’s. proposal to replace the Forest Home branch with a new library on the first floor of the Hill Building and market-rate apartments above. Simply put, there’s a lot to like about the project. The Hill Building has great bones, and it’s on the National Register, with ample dedicated parking and a prominent location on Mitchell Street, the South Side’s downtown since the late 1800s. The building is also literally across the street from one of the largest parochial grade schools (St. Anthony’s) in the country, and the use of historic preservation tax credits will enable us to get more library for our money. When you put it all together, this is going to be a genuinely catalytic project that will bring Third Ward-caliber energy to the heart of the South Side.”

Brooke VandeBerg, the Communications and Marketing Director for the library, said the board also made these conclusions about the Gorman proposal:

The Gorman project:

•​Has now clearly defined the second use for the development with market rate housing, which is complementary to a library and a catalytic project for the area.

•​Is proposed for a location (930 W. Mitchell St.) that is central to the service area, in a prominent business district and allows for parking when using the facility

•The project can move expeditiously and be completed within a short time frame. The library and apartments can be developed simultaneously; and,

•The developer has a secure funding strategy and will pursue Historic Tax Credits for the entire project. ​

 

The board made the right decision, in my opinion. The Journey House proposal helped put the urgency of redevelopment of S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr. in the forefront, as has the Urban Placemaking initiatives of Newaukee, including an artist-in-residence for the street. But the project it proposed for the site seemed to have too many variables, imponderables and contingent pieces.

But put together, they demonstrate the need for investment in that commercial corridor. Perhaps just not in a project anchored by a library branch.

The Gorman proposal will provide an anchor for the Mitchell Street commercial district, which, at its heyday, was as vital as any in the nation.

The library board also expressed guarded interest in a proposal for the redevelopment of the Mill Road branch.

According to VandeBerg:

Motion was made and adopted to express interest in the proposed concept presented by Maures Development/Common Bond/Engberg Anderson developer team for the redevelopment of Mill Road library at 7717 W. Good Hope Rd. Before a final decision is made the Board directed staff to:

•​Seek more input about the suggested second use through community meetings hosted by local Aldermen;

•Ensure that the city-owned parcel (7717 W. Good Hope Rd.) is viable for both a library and housing as a second use.

•Review the results of a developer’s market study and environmental study for the feasibility of both affordable housing and market rate housing on the site, and review the 2008 Department of City Development Northwest Side Area Plan.

•Meet with local Aldermen and report to the Board on the findings.

One Other Matter to be Decided:

It occurs to me we are going to have two branch libraries in desperate need of new names, since neither will be located on its eponymous thoroughfare in the future.

“Good Hope Library” might be a good fit, especially since it has a rather uplifting lilt to it.

“Mitchell Street Branch” does have a certain authority to it, as well. But there may be other than street name choices available.

This might be a good community involvement project. Or, perhaps we could monetize it.

Is the city ready to sell naming rights for public buildings? Here might be the chance! How about La Biblioteca El Rey. Come up with something better, if you can.

Apartments, library recommended for south side building

By Tom Daykin of the Journal Sentinel, Dec. 17, 2014

A south side building would be redeveloped into a Milwaukee library branch and 33 apartments under a proposal recommended Tuesday night by city officials.

The Forest Home Library, at 1432 W. Forest Home Ave., would be replaced by a new library branch on the street level of an underused four-story building at 906-910 W. Historic Mitchell St.

That $10.4 million project, proposed by a partnership of development firm Gorman & Co., property owner Mitchell Investment Properties and construction manager VJS Construction Services Inc., would include market-rate apartments on the renovated building’s upper floors, and 96-space parking lot.

The Milwaukee Public Library’s Board of Trustees selected the Gorman proposal over a competing proposal from Cardinal Capital Management Inc. and Journey House to develop a library, 51 units of affordable housing and additional commercial space within a new four-story building at 1135 S. Cesar Chavez Drive.

The trustees selected the Gorman proposal because its market-rate apartments complement the library and would create a catalytic project for the neighborhood, said Brooke VandeBerg,  library communications and marketing director.

The Mitchell St. location is central to the library’s service area, within a prominent business district, VandeBerg said.

Also, the project can be completed within a short time frame, and the developers have a secure financing strategy, including the use of state and federal historic preservation tax credits, she said.

The 80,000-square-foot building, built in 1919 as the Hills Department Store, is only about 30% leased, said John Kesselman, the property’s listing agent.

The building has had difficulties finding tenants since United Migrant Opportunity Services Inc. moved its headquarters to 2701 S. Chase St. around 10 years ago.

A board committee last week declined to recommend either the Gorman or Cardinal Capital proposal due to concerns about financing, and a lack of details. The Gorman proposal initially included affordable apartments, which would have needed additional tax credits for financing the project.

The board on Tuesday night also expressed interest in another proposal recommended by that committee: to replace the Mill Road Library, at 6431 N. 76th St., with a four-story structure to be built on a city-owned lot at 7717 W. Good Hope Road.

A partnership of Milwaukee-based Maures Development Group LLC, St. Paul, Minn.-based CommonBond Communities Inc., and Milwaukee-based Engberg Anderson Inc. would develop a library, 46 affordable apartments on the upper levels, potential street-level commercial space, on-site parking and outdoor green space, according to the conceptual plans.

Before making a final decision, the board wants more information on the Maures proposal, including a review of the developer’s market study, VandeBerg said.

Both projects also would require Common Council approval.

From Foreclosures, Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing Finance, 2014 LIHTC Yearbook

A Wisconsin developer’s large-scale initiative in neighborhoods on Milwaukee’s North Side is helping reverse the damage of the Great Recession and foreclosure crisis.  By purchasing vacant lots and foreclosed homes from the city, Gorman & Co. has aided in neighborhood revitalization, homeownership opportunities, and job creation.

Over the course of seven phases, the developer built or rehabbed 282 single-family homes or duplexes affordable to residents earning between 30 percent and 60 percent of the area median income.

“All of those homes that we redeveloped within the neighborhoods are in a high demand because people in this day and age really find it hard to own a home but want the space of a home to raise a family,” says Ted Matkom, Wisconsin market president for Gorman & Co.

Gorman refurbished the homes, many of which date back to the early 1900s, with modern amenities, appliances and security systems.  “You literally get a new home, in a sense, when you move in,” Matkom says.

After the 15-year compliance period, residents living within the single-family homes will have the opportunity to purchase them for the remaining debt, which is projected to be approximately $35,000.

The acquisition and rehabilitation work also has provided a needed jobs boost in the city.  Gorman partnered with nonprofit Northcott Neighborhood House to create a training program for chronically unemployed local residents with challenged backgrounds.  Through the program, men and women were trained to do construction trade work and demolition work.

Low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) were vital to the developer’s work.  The $56.6 million initiative was financed with $44.1 million in LIHTC equity.  Additional financing included Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds from the city of Milwaukee.

“The LIHTC program really makes the housing sustainable for years to come,” says Matkom.  “And it really revitalizes the housing stock with minimal subsidy.”