$59 million redevelopment of former Briggs & Stratton complex to start this fall

Buildings to be converted into affordable apartments, commercial and community space

Photo by Justin Goodrum of Good Entertainment
Photo by Justin Goodrum of Good Entertainment

Last updated on June 9th, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Local developer Que El-Amin expects to kick off a $59 million transformation of a former industrial complex in Milwaukee’s 30th Street Industrial Corridor into apartments and commercial space in November.

The Community Within the Corridor project will develop 197 units of affordable housing and about 70,000 square feet of community and recreational space at the site of the former Briggs & Stratton industrial complex, El-Amin said.

The proposed project was first announced in 2017. After working the last several years to secure a partner and obtain project financing, El-Amin said he’s feeling good about where things stand.

“I’m optimistic that it will happen,” he said. “I think all of the stakeholders have been very supportive over these years, including Alderman (Russell) Stamper, DCD (Milwaukee’s Department of City Development), WHEDA and our partners. I think the city sees it’s time and I think that, God willing, it is, and it will get started in November.”

The complex consists of six buildings totaling approximately 380,000 square feet on 7 acres between West Hadley Street, Union Pacific railroad tracks, West Center Street and North 33rd Street. The buildings range between one and three stories tall, El-Amin said. It has been closed since the 1980s, according to a city report.

El-Amin’s firm, Scott Crawford Inc., is partnering with Minnetonka, Minnesota-based Roers Cos. LLC on the development.

Project financing comes from a variety of sources, including:

  • a $15.5 million first mortgage,
  • $17.5 million in state and federal historic tax credits,
  • $19.5 million in low-income housing tax credits administered by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority,
  • a proposed $3.15 million city grant through tax incremental financing,
  • a potential $1 million in city HOME funds,
  • $107,000 from Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District’s Green Infrastructure Partnership Program and
  • $2.2 million in deferred developer’s fees.

According to the city report, the developers would advance up to $3.15 million of project costs and will be repaid for these costs through the monetary obligation. Prior to substantial completion of the project, the city will deposit 100% of the tax incremental revenue actually received through the new tax-financing district into a special fund. Upon substantial completion, the amount in that special fund will be disbursed to the developer and applied to reduce the principal balance of the monetary obligation. Following project completion, 100% of the incremental revenue collected each year by the city will go toward repaying the developer.

Community Within the Corridor project team members, from left: Mikal Wesley of Urbane Communities, Falamak Nourzad of Continuum Architects, Que El-Amin of Scott Crawford Inc., Jennifer Green of Commercial Realty Advisors, and Rayhaino Boynes of Sharp Creatives. Photo by Justin Goodrum of Good Entertainment
Community Within the Corridor project team members, from left: Mikal Wesley of Urbane Communities, Falamak Nourzad of Continuum Architects, Que El-Amin of Scott Crawford Inc., Jennifer Green of Commercial Realty Advisors, and Rayhaino Boynes of Sharp Creatives. Photo by Justin Goodrum of Good Entertainment

Assuming the remaining financing falls into place, El-Amin said he expects the project to commence by November and conclude by March 2022.

The commercial space will include a laundromat, small grocery store, daycare, after-school programming, small business incubator and a creative space featuring things like a studio, small movie viewing area and classroom space, El-Amin said. According to the city report, about 40,000 square feet of common and community space will include a basketball court, health club, skate park, futsal court and the business incubator.

El-Amin said the choice in commercial offerings does two things. The laundromat, daycare and other services means residents don’t have to go off-site for them. The creative space intends to draw in artists and other creative types, who are usually the first to move into an area as it becomes revitalized, he said.

The goal, then, is to “usher them in” without later pricing them out of the neighborhood, said El-Amin.

According to the city report, the project aims to eliminate a blighting influence in the area, develop the underused property for “appropriate residential, commercial and community use,” support future investment in the neighborhood and create new employment opportunities.

A public hearing on the tax-incremental financing proposal will take place on June 18. The proposal will need the approval of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee and the Common Council.

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Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.

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