Milwaukee development firm J. Jeffers & Co. opened its first renovated building at the former Horlick Malted Milk Co. complex in Racine.
Named Arabella, the 60-unit apartment building is at the southern end of the 16-acre development site, which is located along Northwestern Avenue. Jeffers has named the $100 million project Belle City Square.
Jeffers and other project partners cut the ribbon on the Arabella yesterday afternoon.
"We are excited about Belle City Square becoming an urban town center rich with local residents, services and retail offerings, and the Arabella is just the start," Racine Mayor Cory Mason said in a statement. "We need such modern, safe and energy efficient housing and the business development and neighborhood services that will emerge at Belle City Square will bring value to the city and our residents."
The Arabella has already reached 62% occupancy. It is providing housing for low- or fixed-income residents. Units range from studios to three bedrooms, and has architectural features such as exposed brick and high ceilings. The building also has rooftop solar panels.
Jeffers named the building Arabella after William Horlick's wife. Belle City Square is meant to reference both the project's mix of historic and modern buildings and the urban town center environment Jeffers is trying to create.
Belle City Square is a mix of historic rehabilitation and new construction. Once complete, the development will contain housing, commercial, recreational and educational elements.
Another historic building is undergoing renovations, and is expected to be ready by April. This building will contain 86 units of market-rate housing.
Construction of two new apartment buildings that will contain 166 units total is expected to begin later this year.
Jeffers is working with Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan on the development. The city is providing financial assistance through tax incremental financing. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority is providing it with low-income housing tax credits.
The Horlick complex operated in Racine from 1873-1975. It fell into disrepair until Jeffers purchased it in 2018. All historical buildings at the complex are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.