Gorman & Co.
will receive the affordable housing tax credits it needs to proceed with Uptown Lofts, a proposed mixed-use development that would serve Kenosha businesses displaced by riots last year.
The hybrid retail and residential complex will include 107 apartment units and more than 20,000 square feet of retail space on its first floor. Uptown Lofts will be constructed on the west side of 22nd Avenue between 60th and 63rd streets in the Uptown neighborhood.
The project calls for tearing down a now vacant shopping center, which burned to the ground during a week of civil unrest in August following the Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development authority awarded Gorman & Co. approximately $1.45 million in affordable housing tax credits for the project. The developer aims to break ground in late summer or early fall, said Ted Matkom, Wisconsin market president at Gorman & Co.
Uptown Lofts could take up to 18 months to complete, although it may be possible to have businesses move in upon completion of the first floor, Matkom previously told BizTimes.
Displaced businesses with plans to return to the Uptown neighborhood will be offered lease agreements first - three of those businesses already plan to come back, Matkom added.
Gorman & Co. is now in the process of securing zoning approvals, which it expects to receive within the next 30 days.
“The mayor has been pushing us to get in the ground and get these businesses a home,” Matkom said. “The city and Kenosha Area Business Alliance have been very instrumental in putting this together.”
As of early April, KABA had awarded Disaster Recovery Microloans to 46 different businesses totaling $2.35 million. The city enlisted KABA to disperse the $4 million DRM program, which is funded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
The program provided physically damaged businesses with 0% interest loans of up to $50,000 and a 4-year minimum repayment period. KABA has also partnered with Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. and the Small Business Development Center to provide impacted businesses with entrepreneurial and financial workshops.
KABA estimates that at least 70 Kenosha business were physically affected by the violent civil unrest. Several displaced businesses have reopened in new locations
while others have plans to reopen.
Some business owners are frustrated by the construction timeline for Uptown Lofts, and say the now derelict street continues to have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood
BizTimes Milwaukee has followed recovery efforts of Kenosha's business community since last year. "Kenosha Picks up the pieces
," a BizTimes cover story, recounted the August civil unrest as it unfolded for two Kenosha business owners.