Wisconsin

New Colts coach to visit Beloit for housing grand opening

NFL head coach, Jim Caldwell, helps mark 1917 Fairbanks Flats Rowhomes’ rebirth and redevelopment into affordable townhouses.

Beloit, Wis (PRWEB) June 19, 2009 — Today Gorman & Company, a national affordable housing development firm based in Madison, Wis, held the grand opening of Fairbanks Flats Rowhomes. Originally built in 1917 during World War I as segregated workforce housing, Gorman & Company redeveloped the original 24 units into 16 rent-to-own, affordable townhouses for low-to-moderate income families and people with disabilities. The four original buildings maintain the look and feel of the historic design and feature two- and three-bedroom homes ranging in size from 1,288 to 1,787 square feet.

National Football League head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Caldwell, was on hand for the ceremony and spoke of Fairbanks Flats’ historic significance and the impact it has made on the greater community. Caldwell is from Beloit, Wis and grew up in the Fairbanks Flats area.

Listed on both the National Register of Historical Places and the Wisconsin State Register, the original four buildings at Fairbanks Flats were built by Fairbanks Morse, an engine manufacturer and Beloit’s largest employer at the time. Fairbanks Morse recruited African-Americans from the South to replace the white labor force that had left to serve in World War I. A handful of African-American families had lived in Beloit since the mid-1800s, but the population grew immensely with Fairbanks Flats serving as a gateway to the city, “an Ellis Island,” as one past resident called it. Within a decade, nearly 1,000 African-Americans called Beloit home.

“The redevelopment and rebirth of Fairbanks Flats is symbolic of positive change,” said Gary Gorman, president of Gorman & Company. “A place which once represented division and separation, now offers new opportunity and reflects community. The city of Beloit, Wis, the Fairbanks Flats Revitalization Group, community supporters, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), our project partners and dedicated employees were all integral parts in accomplishing this transformation.”

WHEDA provided nearly $2 million in affordable housing tax credits to the project. Gorman & Company, utilizing the Emerging Business Enterprise Program, exceeded WHEDA’s goal of 25%, with 33% minority business participation on the development. The City of Beloit donated the property and contributed a $150,000 interest-free loan to help finance the project.

“WHEDA is a proud partner with Gorman & Company on the Fairbanks Flats development,” said WHEDA Executive Director Antonio Riley. “These redeveloped homes are a testament to Beloit’s past, present and future. The future residents of Fairbanks can enjoy a piece of the City’s history and at the same time, create roots of their own as future homeowners.”

Residents at Fairbanks Flats will have an opportunity to purchase their homes after 15 years. This rent-to-own feature provides an opportunity for residents to benefit from financial tools designed into the program and to own a piece of Beloit’s history. At the end of 15 years, the property will be conveyed to a nonprofit organization that will sell the homes at a discounted price equal to a low outstanding loan balance plus the costs to administer the program.

“This celebration, a long time coming, is important for historical preservation, the City of Beloit and those African Americans whose roots are grounded in the Beloit experience,” said Wanda Sloan, a founding member of the Fairbanks Flats Revitalization Committee.

“Fairbanks Flats Rowhomes provides much needed affordable housing in Beloit,” said Miles Cary, Bank of America Community Development Banking Senior Vice President. “We are pleased to be able to provide the tax credit equity investment for this important development.”

Project partners in Fairbank Flats include Alliant Capital, which provided the low income housing tax credit investment; Bank of America, which provided the historic tax credit investment; and US Bank, which provided construction and permanent project lending.

Gorman & Company, Inc., headquartered in Oregon, Wis, began in 1984 with a mission to create high-quality housing opportunities. Working with both public and private partners, Gorman & Company specializes in the renovation of historic buildings and renaissance of traditional urban neighborhoods. The company is renowned for its quality craftsmanship, dependability, and sensitivity to building communities. For more information or to view our portfolio, please visit www.GormanUSA.net.