Last updated on June 24th, 2021 at 12:30 pm
Construction of the Community Within The Corridor project on Milwaukee’s north side is underway.
The $66 million redevelopment of a former Briggs & Stratton complex into apartments, commercial uses and recreational space could be the first step in redeveloping the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, said project developer Que El-Amin.
“The Community Within The Corridor is the first investment for a redefined 30th Street Industrial Corridor,” El-Amin, principal of Milwaukee-based Scott Crawford Inc., said at a groundbreaking ceremony last week. His firm is is co-developing the project with Minnetonka, Minnesota-based Roers Cos. LLC.
“We have learned that siloed investment brings lackluster results, so let’s not repeat the same mistakes,” he said. “The five-year, $66 million (investment) that it takes to fix these buildings is a small fraction of what it will take to rebuild our community, but I hope this shows it can be done.”
The complex consists of six buildings totaling approximately 380,000 square feet on 7 acres along North 32nd Street, north of West Center Street.
It will include 197 affordable housing units, a 35,000-square-foot community service facility and 25,000 square feet of recreational space.
The Community Within The Corridor broke ground in February, about five years after the project team began working on it, according to El-Amin.
Hundreds gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony and property tour on Friday afternoon.
Construction manager, Milwaukee-based Greenfire Management Services LLC, has so far performed demolition work, abated the property of lead, asbestos and contaminated soils, and has begun installing underground plumbing.
The housing portion includes 130 units east of 32nd Street and 67 units to the west. A laundromat, daycare and entrepreneurship center will be directly northwest of 32nd and Center streets. East of 32nd Street will also be a business accelerator, community recreation center and two community lounges, according to site plans from the project designer, Milwaukee-based Continuum Architects + Planners.
Other components include a food hall, podcast rooms, recording studios, and a dance studio. Young Enterprising Society, which was founded by Que and brother Khalif El-Amin, will make the development its home base. The Center Street Marketplace Business Improvement District No. 39 will be moving there as well.
The Community Within The Corridor will ensure residents won’t have to go far to find a daycare or clean their clothes. It will also provide a variety of spaces to serve local artists and entrepreneurs.
“As an artist in Milwaukee, a creative in Milwaukee, the narrative has always been that we need to leave the city of Milwaukee in order to achieve goals and become successful as creators,” said Rayhainio Boynes, founder and chief executive officer of Sharp Creatives and a member of the project team. “We know that is the farthest thing from truth.”
Boynes will run the Creative Corridor that will be located in the community service facility.
Mikal Wesley, president of Urbane Communities and another development team member, said the groundbreaking is the result of five years of persistence and the team’s desire to create a “community within a community.”
“As I reflect on our journey, I think of some of the highs and lows of this process, I think about how we regrouped each time things didn’t go our way, I think about the moments we wondered whether we’d see this through, and that’s why I’m so proud of our team,” he said.
The project has a lengthy list of financing sources, including a mortgage, state and federal historic tax credits, low-income housing tax credits, city assistance through tax incremental financing and HOME funds, funding from Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District’s Green Infrastructure Partnership Program and deferred developer’s fees.
It is the largest privately owned affordable housing development in Wisconsin.