Gorman advancing two redevelopment projects of former Milwaukee school buildings

Would create nearly 115 units of affordable housing


Oregon, Wisconsin-based Gorman & Co. is working to redevelop two former Milwaukee Public School buildings into affordable housing.

The first project involves the McKinley School at 2001 W. Vliet St. Gorman plans to develop 35 affordable rental units and construct four single-family homes along Vliet Street on the school site’s northern boundary.

MPS owned the building until 1991, when it was sold to VE Carter Child Development Center for use as a school and daycare. The building was damaged by a fire in 2013 and the city foreclosed on it in October 2016.

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The second project would turn the former Edison Middle School at 5372 N. 37th St. into 79 units of housing. The school closed in 2008.

Each project is undergoing city review for various approvals.

This spring, Gorman filed an application for a zoning change with the Department of City Development to allow for the Edison School project to occur. A request for a change in zoning requires Common Council approval.

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According to the application, the Edison School project would cost $20 million.

The former Edison Middle School. Credit: Google
The former Edison Middle School. Credit: Google

Meanwhile, Gorman is seeking city financing assistance on the $11.5 million McKinley School project. According to a city report, the project could receive $950,000 through tax-incremental financing. The proposed financing includes $650,000 for environmental remediation and $300,000 for infrastructure, site preparation and construction costs of the single-family homes.

The apartments would be a mix of two- and three-bedroom units, and would target veterans. Of those 35 units, 21 would be set aside for households with incomes less than 50% of the median area income. Another 14 units would be for households making less than 80% of median area income. The four houses “will be built to complement the renovation of the school building on the site and to provide new home ownership opportunities in the neighborhood,” according to the report.

Environmental remediation is expected to cost $1.1 million. The remainder of the project costs would come from a $450,000 grant previously awarded to the city by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The proposed city financing is scheduled for a public hearing by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee on Aug. 20. It would ultimately need Common Council approval as well.

The McKinley School project earlier this year was awarded $641,000 in housing tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

Gorman’s interest in the project dates back to 2018, when the city entered into a site-control agreement with the developer allowing it to explore the feasibility of redeveloping the school.

Gorman focuses on developing affordable housing, and has created more than 5,000 affordable units over 30 years. It has developed other former school buildings in the Milwaukee area, such as the Jackie Robinson School and Fifth Street School. Other area projects include Park East Enterprise Lofts, Metcalfe Park Homes, Dr. Wesley L. Scott Senior Living Facility, several scattered-site projects and, most recently, the 40-unit Washington Park Townhomes.

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