MILWAUKEE, WI - Evergreen Real Estate Group and Legacy Midwest Renewal Corp. (LMRC) recently joined public-private partners to celebrate the grand opening of Legacy Lofts, a 64-unit mixed-income rental community in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood.
Located at 1500 W. North Ave., the community is partially housed in the former Blommer Ice Cream Factory, a three-story concrete and terra cotta structure that was built in 1928 and sat vacant for nearly two decades prior to its redevelopment. The original building was preserved in accordance with National Park Service guidelines and converted into 38 apartments with one to four bedrooms and ranging in size from approximately 500 to 1,600 square feet. A three-story addition to the factory houses another 26 apartments with one- to three-bedroom plans, including seven townhome units with private entrances along 16th Street, that range from approximately 1,200 to 1,400 square feet. Fifty-four of the 64 units are affordable to households earning less than 60% of the area median income, while the remainder are market-rate units.
“The opening of Legacy Lofts is the culmination of a team effort that returned a historic yet long-vacant property to Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood while simultaneously creating jobs and much-needed housing that will serve families across the income spectrum,” said David Block, director of development for Chicago-based Evergreen Real Estate Group, which will also manage the property. “The real ‘legacy’ of this development is how it will continue to contribute to the ongoing revitalization taking place along North Avenue.”
The restored historic factory building includes high ceilings – more than 17 feet in some first-floor units – polished cement floors, large and historically appropriate windows, and a former loading dock that has been converted into an outdoor patio. All units feature Energy Star appliances and a contemporary design that includes exposed ductwork for heating and air-conditioning systems.
The $13.9 million project was made possible by the partnership and collaboration of Evergreen, LMRC (the real estate investment affiliate of Legacy Redevelopment Corp.), Continuum Architects + Planners, Greenfire Management Services LLC, MacRostie Historic Advisors, HN Development, Walnut Way Development Corp., Haywood Group, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), Alderman Russell W. Stamper II, the city of Milwaukee, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. U.S. Bank, Associated Bank, the city of Milwaukee, WHEDA and IFF provided additional financial support.
In addition to the residences, the project included 1,565 square feet of street-level commercial space that houses the new offices of LMRC.
“The factory that was built in 1928 has come back to life,” said Sally Peltz, founder and president of LMRC. “My business theory is if you work really hard and are determined to make it happen, it will happen. Legacy Lofts evolved from that ethos – a spirit and belief that dreams do come true.”
“Legacy Redevelopment Corp. has been committed to this community for over 15 years and is extremely pleased to have completed this project,” said José A. Mantilla, president of Legacy Redevelopment Corp. “We look forward to continuing to invest within the community.”
“Legacy Lofts has brought new life and purpose to a proud historic building that stood as a cornerstone to its community, and the 15th & North neighborhood,” said Falamak Nourzad, principal and co-founder of Continuum Architects + Planners. “This unique project encompasses our firm’s strong commitment and passion to work with the city of Milwaukee and its visionary investors to revitalize neighborhoods with cost-effective, affordable housing.”
Evergreen and LMRC partnered to secure the complex financing for the project, utilizing a combination of federal low-income housing tax credits, state and federal historic tax credits, tax-increment financing, HOME Fund financing and private mortgage debt.
Greenfire Management Services LLC ensured minority contractor hiring programs were in place to create opportunities for Milwaukee firms. By working closely with neighborhood partners, the project team exceeded program targets for local hiring and contracting with Emerging Business Enterprises.
“Providing preconstruction and construction management services for Legacy Lofts was an exceptional opportunity for our team,” said Kip Ritchie, president of Greenfire Management Services. “We are grateful to Evergreen Real Estate Group and Legacy Redevelopment Corporation for partnering with us, and we are proud of the work we did to help deliver this quality mixed-use apartment development to the Lindsay Heights community.”