PNC purchases $76 million in housing tax credits

In the largest tax credit purchase in Wisconsin history, Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank bought $7.6 million in Affordable Housing Tax Credits from the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, which will translate to $76 million in tax savings over 10 years.
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority awarded HACM the tax credits in 2010. PNC’s $76 million investment will go toward an initial $85 million in redevelopment costs for the Westlawn public housing community on Milwaukee’s northwest side.
The eastern portion of the 75-acre Westlawn community will be completed first. Construction started in March, with teardown of existing buildings and construction of two multi-family buildings containing 250 one-bedroom low income housing units, said Paul Williams, Housing Authority communications coordinator. Public infrastructure will also be updated to fit the project, and market value homes will be constructed
This first phase focuses on a 37-acre space bordered by 60th Street, 64th Street, Silver Spring Drive and Lincoln Creek Drive. The project is expected to cost a total of $115 million, Williams said. The cost of the second phase, to convert the other 38 acres of Westlawn, is unknown.
“We’ve been on a long-term effort to revitalize our properties,” he said. “The current effort started actually in 1993 with our Hillside family development and since then we’ve revitalized several of our neighborhoods.”
The environmentally-focused development aims to create a healthy community at a variety of income levels.
“The revitalization will transform Westlawn from an island of concentrated poverty to a mixed-income and environmentally-sustainable neighborhood that is healthier and better connected to the city,” said HACM Secretary-Executive Director Tony Pérez.
 Mayor Tom Barrett praised the investment. “PNC’s commitment to the Westlawn revitalization will help ensure the availability of high-quality affordable housing in Milwaukee and act as a catalyst for additional development in the surrounding neighborhood,” he said.
PNC purchases about $60 million in tax credits annually. This is its first tax credit investment in Milwaukee since it entered the market in 2008 with the acquisition of National City Bank, said Beth Wnuk, regional president for Milwaukee.
“It just makes good business sense,” Wnuk said. “We also recognize that by doing so, we are becoming a supporter of a community where we conduct business and where our employees work.”

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