Becher Street Affordable Housing Expands Options for Elderly,
September 21, 2010
Milwaukee, WI - SunStarr Real Estate Ventures, LLC, the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM), and the Milwaukee Community Service Corps (MCSC) celebrated the renewal and expansion of affordable housing options on Milwaukee’s south side at an event today at 1800 W. Becher Street. The celebration featured the groundbreaking for a new affordable assisted living facility, a public art installation at the site, and renovations to existing facilities.
The event included Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) Executive Director Antonio Riley; Milwaukee Common Council President and HACM Board Chair Willie L. Hines, Jr.; Scott Stevlingson, Chief Operating Officer of SunStarr; Steve Falek, Associate Director of HACM; and Chris Litzau, Executive Director of MCSC.
The Housing Authority’s Becher Court housing complex has provided public housing for low-income residents since 1971 and most recently offered 220 units to elderly residents. Earlier this year, the original and aging housing tower was demolished to make room for Becher Terrace, a new 80-unit state-of-the-art facility being developed by SunStarr Real Estate Ventures, LLC. The building will offer spacious, accessible apartment homes and a variety of optional personal care and nursing services to elderly residents. The enhanced services will provide a much-needed neighborhood option to help residents age in community.
Mayor Tom Barrett expressed his support, saying “This project is an example of a public-private partnership that is putting people to work while investing in cost-effective solutions to the housing needs of Milwaukee’s low-income elderly residents.”
SunStarr received over $12.4 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from WHEDA to finance the project and $1.5 million in funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Tax Credit Exchange program. Demolition of the Becher Court tower was made possible by $667,000 in funds awarded to HACM through ARRA.
“WHEDA is proud to play a significant role in this development,” said WHEDA Executive Director Antonio Riley. “We’re not only working with an experienced developer to provide quality, affordable assisted living options to our seniors, we’re putting people to work along the way. We estimate this development will create just over 90 construction jobs.”
Becher Terrace will connect to the Housing Authority’s existing Becher Court building via a new 2-story common area that includes a spacious lobby, country store, library, exercise room and dining area and where residents of both buildings can gather for activities, meals and social events.
“The partnership with SunStarr will contribute to better quality of life for lower-income elderly residents by allowing them to remain in their neighborhood longer, receiving enhanced services when needed and staying connected to their community,” said Willie L. Hines, Jr., Common Council President and HACM Board Chair.
The event also featured decorative mosaics created by MCSC’s Art Corps. The mosaics, collectively titled “A Path to Success,” have been installed in the landscaped green space of Becher Court’s newly renovated Forest Home Avenue entry way.
MCSC provides education, job training, and life skills to unemployed Milwaukee youth. MCSC’s Art Corps derives from the New Deal-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Program (FAP), which employed out-of-work artists to create paintings, sculptures, architecture, and handicrafts for public use and enjoyment. MCSC is recognizing the 75th anniversary of the WPA and FAP this year through a series of events and activities. The mosaics and their placement at Becher Court are the embodiment of the WPA’s intent to enhance public buildings with art.
In addition to the mosaics, Becher Court’s renovated Forest Home Avenue entry features a new driveway, additional off-street parking, enhanced accessibility and landscaping, and the upcoming installation of a new canopy.
The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee provides safe, high-quality and affordable housing options to a diverse population of low-income residents in nearly 10,000 housing units throughout the City of Milwaukee. HACM further provides a wide range of educational, employment, and social services to enhance residents’ self-sufficiency.
The Milwaukee Community Services Corps provides Milwaukee’s at-risk youth with education, life skills and job training opportunities that allow them to earn wages while improving the community and the environment.
SunStarr Real Estate Ventures, LLC focuses on the development of affordable housing communities in Wisconsin. Over the last five years the affiliated companies of SunStarr have developed several other affordable assisted living communities in Milwaukee by combining the affordable housing aspects of the tax-credit program with an optional service component funded in part by the Family Care program. These developments include Garden Place, Garden Terrace and Clarke Square Terrace.
|The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee is an equal opportunity housing provider and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, handicap, lawful source of income, marital status, family status or sexual orientation.|