Milwaukee developer J. Jeffers & Co. on Thursday revealed details of its proposed $100 million redevelopment of the former Horlick Malted Milk Co. complex in Racine, which will be turned into a mixed-use town center with housing, commercial, recreational and educational elements.
The developer expects to break ground on the first part of the project next month.
Known as the Historic Horlick District, the project will be developed in two phases, according to a news release. It will be a combination of new construction and historic rehabilitation.
Specifically, the project calls for multi-family housing, new-construction townhouses, incubator space and a trades-focused workforce training center.
“These are fascinating properties with tremendous importance to the history of Racine and our country’s industrial period,” Josh Jeffers, president of Jeffers, said in a statement. His firm owns nine properties within the Horlick District.
The first phase will involve the redevelopment of the two largest buildings in the complex that face Northwestern Avenue. The first building, at 2100 Northwestern Ave., will be turned into 60 units of market-rate and affordable housing and will be known as Horlick Flats. The second building, at 2200 Northwestern Ave., will be converted into approximately 76 units of market-rate housing, and will be called The Headquarters at Horlick.
For the Horlick Flats, Jeffers is partnering with Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. The group will provide a range of economic and social empowerment programming in the building.
Jeffers and Lutheran Social Services worked on another housing development in Racine, the Gold Medal Lofts. That project involved the conversion of the historic former Gold Medal Furniture manufacturing facility into a 77-unit mixed-income apartment complex, and officially opened this week.
Phase two of the project will focus on commercial offerings, which Jeffers said will ideally meet the needs of the Horlick District residents and neighboring community. Specific ideas include a microbrewery and/or taproom.
Unique site elements to be retained and restored include, among other things, the Gothic Revival buildings, expansive open spaces, original tongue and groove wood plank flooring in many buildings, winding brick roadways throughout the complex and the signature clock tower.
It will rely on multiple sources of financing. Jeffers has already secured a national historic designation for the district, which opens the project to state and federal historic tax credits. The first phase of the project will also use housing tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.
The developer is also seeking federal New Market Tax Credits for the commercial portion of the project, such as the brewery and taproom. These credits are designed to stimulate business and investment in low-income communities, according to the release.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to create a new neighborhood and commerce district that restores Racine history and infrastructure into a bustling and promising area of pride for Racine,” Jeffers said.