Development planned in Metcalfe Park/Washington Park area

The North Avenue Community Development Corp. plans to build a three-story mixed-use building, called Avenue Lofts, at North 32nd Street and West North Avenue in Milwaukee and 20 single-family rent-to-own homes, called Avenue Homes, in the vicinity of North 32nd Street and West Garfield Avenue.

The Avenue Lofts building would have 3,800 square feet of retail space and four three-bedroom apartments. The project would be built on privately-owned, blighted sites.

Avenue Homes would be built on city-owned lots and would offer families the opportunity to rent a three-bedroom home with a garage and appliances. After a successful rental period the homes would be sold to the family at a price that results in a mortgage payment at or below their rent payment.

Renee Booker, president / CEO of the North Avenue Community Development Corp., said families living in both developments will be offered guidance and counseling on becoming homeowners. Booker said he hopes to attract teachers, police officers and other professionals to buy in the neighborhood as well. “We’re responding to the foreclosure crisis by developing housing that can move more of our families towards responsible, affordable homeownership,” Booker said. “By offering this opportunity to turn a dream into an affordable reality, we believe we’re building a stronger community that will work hard to keep our neighborhood strong."

Avenue Homes would be the second rent-to-own home ownership opportunity in the city of Milwaukee. Metcalfe Park Homes, a City of Milwaukee partnership with Gorman & Company, offers 30 rent-to-own homes in the neighborhood.

Since 1998, North Avenue Community Development Corporation (NACDC) has worked with the City of Milwaukee to bring nearly $13 million of development to the North Avenue Corridor, including the Columbia Square and Touissant Square developments. Currently, all of NACDC’s commercial properties are 90 percent to 100 percent leased and its residential portfolio maintains occupancy in the high 90 percent range. Several of its non-tax credit properties have been sold to business owners that now own their space.

"We are working with strong partners like Renee Booker and the North Avenue Community Development Corporation to bring about real change in the lives of Metcalfe Park residents," said Mayor Tom Barrett. "Anyone who drives down West North Avenue will see a number of new developments to serve the neighborhood."

Predevelopment assistance for the Avenue Project was provided by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The project will also be assisted with a $5.5 million tax credit allocation from Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) will consider a land assembly proposal for the Avenue Project at its next meeting on Thursday.

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