Habitat planning 18-lot subdivision in central Waukesha

Development would be the first in the neighborhood in 100 years

Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County announced plans Thursday to transform a vacant 3.5 acres lot near downtown Waukesha into an 18-lot subdivision. (Rendering courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County)

Last updated on April 22nd, 2022 at 01:12 pm

Most new housing developments in the city of Waukesha these days usually take place on the far edges of town on former farm fields skirting county highways.

But a new housing development could be coming soon to one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County announced plans Thursday to transform a vacant 3.5 acre-site near downtown Waukesha into an 18-lot subdivision. The site is bordered by Greenfield Avenue to the east, Oakland Avenue to the west, Ellis Street to the south, and a bike path to the north, that separates it from homes along Lincoln Avenue. It is just a block from the historic homes along Broadway, and Buchner Park and Pool.

The development is slated to consist of 16 single-family homes and two duplexes that we would be located closer to Lincoln Street.

First platted in 1887, the site was long home to the Aeroshade company, which made wooden shades and folding doors in a small factory there. The factory opened in 1915 before any houses had been built nearby, and closed in 2015, 100 years later. The factory was razed in 2017, in hopes of placing homes on the property, but efforts to have the land sold to a private developer fizzled.

Since this project is being pursued by Habitat Waukesha, the homes will be reserved for households earning at or below 80% of Waukesha County’s median income level of $88,985. As Jeff Fortin, a Waukesha city planner, explained to a city panel last month, building affordable homes has become more challenging across the region in recent years, with increasing demand, limited supply, and increased costs for land, infrastructure, and construction materials.

Although the neighborhood is largely working class, two-and-three-bedroom homes on surrounding blocks regularly sell for upwards of $250,000.

To help keep homes prices lower for the project the city is apply for Community Development Grant Funds to install a missing segment of sidewalk between Ellis Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Development partner

Habitat will be partnering on the project with Tarantino & Company (T&Co, LLC), a real estate consulting firm and a sister company of senior living operator, Capri Communities, which has led the development of affordable housing, commercial real estate, student housing and commercial real estate.

“We are excited to partner with T&Co to leverage the wonderful assets of the Aeroshade neighborhood and activate the vacant property to provide workforce housing for more families in Waukesha,” said Melissa Songco, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County, in a Thursday press release. “Our work at the former YWCA and on White Rock Avenue have prepared us for a project of this magnitude. The Aeroshade neighborhood is a wonderful community for families to bike, bus, or even walk to work or school using the beautiful bike trail.”

James Tarantino, of T&CO., added that the company has a long history of investing in the city of Waukesha and sees the project as an “opportunity to give back to the community and offer our expertise to make the project a reality.”

The Plan Commission is slated to vote on the project when it meets next Wednesday.

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Cara covers commercial and residential real estate. She has an extensive background in local government reporting and hopes to use her experience writing about both urban and rural redevelopment to better inform readers. Cara lives in Waukesha with her husband, a teenager, a toddler, a dog named Neutron, a bird named Potter, and a lizard named Peyoye. She loves music, food, and comedy, but not necessarily in that order.

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