MADISON – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) today announced that it has awarded a $250,000 grant to the City of Milwaukee to help support the redevelopment of the historic Garfield School campus.
The $17.4 million project will transform a vacant city block at North 4th Street and West North Avenue in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood into a vibrant mixed-use campus that will include apartments, commercial space and a new home for America’s Black Holocaust Museum.
“The redevelopment of this area represents a true partnership between the community, the city, the state and the private sector, and will play a major role in revitalizing this historic neighborhood on Milwaukee’s north side,” said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “This is the latest example of our commitment to supporting economic development efforts in Milwaukee, which has seen more than $280 million in WEDC investments since 2011.”
WEDC is providing the funding through its Community Development Investment Grant Program, which supports community development and redevelopment efforts—primarily in downtown areas—throughout the state. Awards are granted based on an applicant’s ability to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need, and use of sustainable downtown development practices.
The redevelopment by the Maures Development Group LLC, in partnership with J. Jeffers & Co. and CUPED, is taking part in two stages. In the first phase, the school building will be converted into the Historic Garfield Apartments, with 30 units of high-quality, mixed-income housing. In the second phase, the adjoining vacant properties will be demolished and developed as The Griot, a new building with 41 residential units and 8,000 square feet of commercial space, which is where America’s Black Holocaust Museum and a café will be located.
The project is expected to create more than 115 jobs through construction, property management and the museum. In addition, about 40 people will receive on-the-job training through an innovative partnership with Employ Milwaukee and the Northcott Neighborhood House.
The museum, which is expected to reopen in spring 2018, is expected to draw about 10,000 visitors annually to the Bronzeville neighborhood.
WEDC also supported the project in November by authorizing the developers to receive up to $1,289,055 in Historic Preservation Tax Credits. In addition, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) provided a $1 million permanent loan, $5 million in construction financing and $251,829 in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to the Garfield Apartments, and $657,531 in tax credits to the Griot.
The WEDC grant announcement comes as Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and WHEDA Executive Director Wyman Winston join other state, city and neighborhood leaders in a groundbreaking celebration Tuesday at the former school building.
The redevelopment effort is a key component of Governor Scott Walker’s Transform Milwaukee Initiative, a comprehensive, public-private partnership that leverages Milwaukee’s workforce, industrial strengths and transportation assets to expand community investments, increase business development, boost job creation and strengthen neighborhoods.
WEDC has invested more than $145 million in the Transform Milwaukee Initiative corridor, which has generated an additional $835 million in private investment and is expected to result in the creation of more than 900 jobs.