The plan by an Indianapolis developer to build an $18.5 million home for veterans in Racine’s Uptown neighborhood has been scrapped after the bids from local subcontractors came in too high.
[caption id="attachment_136659" align="alignright" width="333"] Herman & Kittle Properties Inc. planned to transform a former industrial building into housing for veterans.[/caption]
Herman & Kittle Properties Inc. was planning the 74-unit housing project as one of three major development projects in the neighborhood. The city was hoping the home would revitalize the 94-acre area along Washington Avenue in mid-town Racine and spur additional redevelopment.
The area includes some of Racine’s largest employers, including Twin Disc and SC Johnson and was once a thriving commercial and industrial district in the city.
Sarah Beck, development director with Herman & Kittle, said the bids from subcontractors in Racine and Milwaukee came in about $4.5 million over budget.
Beck said she would normally get about 300 bids for a project of this size, but only received 100.
“Construction has picked up in Milwaukee, and the subcontractors don’t need the work,” Beck said. “We are so disappointed this is not moving forward. We spent the last 75 days bidding and this was so far over budget we can’t close the gap.”
However, Herman & Kittle’s 72-unit affordable housing project targeted to help veterans in Milwaukee’s Haymarket Square neighborhood currently is on still on track and will be complete in October 2017, Beck said.
The Racine project was going to transform more than three acres of mostly former industrial buildings on Clark Street between 15th and 16th streets into a mixed-use complex of 74 apartments and amenities catering to veterans.
It was going to be the first of three projects in that area. Phase two includes using the former Our Savior Lutheran Church, 2219 Washington Ave., for a banquet faculty and reception hall. SC Johnson has announced plans to modernize its corporate headquarters in the Uptown neighborhood in 2018.
Racine Mayor John Dickert said the city was obviously very disappointed with the news, but is already working on lining up a new developer for the veteran's housing project.
“We’re on this,” Dickert said. “We’ve totally dedicated ourselves to Uptown and we will never give up on veterans.”