63 apartments and commercial space could come to this long-vacant South Milwaukee corner

63 apartments and commercial space could come to this long-vacant South Milwaukee corner

In South Milwaukee, a vacant corner may soon see new life with the proposed construction of a four-story mixed-use building. AK Development, based in Milwaukee, has unveiled plans for the Canal Transit Housing project at 2318 10th Ave., where a former gas station once stood. The envisioned structure spans over 64,000 square feet and combines residential and commercial spaces, featuring 63 market-rate apartments, including 29 one-bedroom and 34 two-bedroom units, alongside 5,000 square feet designated for commercial use. Additionally, a parking lot at the rear of the building could accommodate up to 26 vehicles.

Renderings of the project showcase a modern design, with amenities such as a lounge area and an 896-square-foot community room proposed for the interior. Along the exterior, bench seating is depicted along 10th Avenue, enhancing the streetscape and promoting community engagement.

The land earmarked for development, spanning 0.70 acres, is currently owned by the City of South Milwaukee. The site, previously occupied by an Amoco/BP gas station, underwent demolition in 2018, including the removal of underground fuel tanks, following years of disuse.

This development initiative has been under consideration by South Milwaukee officials since early 2023, initially with plans for 39 apartments. Subsequent refinements and updates throughout the year have led to the current iteration of the project.

Regarding financing, the total project budget amounts to $18,930,131. Notably, approximately $12.6 million of the funding comes from the developer’s capital stack, with WHEDA funds listed as a significant contributor. Additionally, AK Development is seeking financial assistance from the City of South Milwaukee, with a request of $1.5 million. This assistance could potentially be provided through tax incremental financing district (TID 5), established in 2018 and encompassing the project site along with other designated areas within the city.

Tax incremental financing involves utilizing property tax revenues to fund public improvements and other initiatives within the designated district. Once the incurred debt is repaid, the increased tax revenue is then redirected to various entities, including the city, schools, and other agencies.

Notably, the proposed project aims to address housing needs for specific demographics, potentially including eight units designated for workforce housing geared towards young individuals and youths transitioning out of foster care. Furthermore, there’s a possibility of an additional 13 units being supported by Wisconsin Community Services for the same demographic.

The next steps in the development process involve review by South Milwaukee’s Plan Commission on Feb. 27, with potential approval paving the way for consideration by the Common Council as early as March 5. Should all necessary approvals be obtained, construction is anticipated to commence in April 2025, with an estimated completion date set for May 2026, as stated by City Administrator Patrick Brever.