Office of Governor Doyle: Governor Doyle Celebrates Grand Opening of Columbia Square Affordable Housing Development

Ethnie Groves, Governor Doyle’s Office, 608-261-2156

Development Received $3.5 Million in WHEDA Affordable Housing Tax Credits

MILWAUKEE – Governor Jim Doyle celebrated today the grand opening of Columbia Square Housing Development in Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) awarded affordable housing tax credits ultimately worth $3.5 million to the North Avenue Community Development Corporation to help jumpstart the construction of Columbia Square.

“Columbia Square is a great example of how affordable housing can anchor redevelopment efforts,” Governor Doyle said. “This development allows people to be close to their jobs – bringing people and business closer together.”

The development represents the latest model for mixed-use development in the Metcalfe Park, Grandview, and Walnut Hill neighborhoods. Columbia Square combines new construction and renovated space to increase economic activity in this rapidly improving business corridor. It is one of many business and housing developments along West North Avenue, which are part of an effort to renew vitality to the area.

Last week, Governor Doyle announced that Milwaukee will receive six of WHEDA’s affordable housing tax credit awards this year, worth another $9 million dollars to the community. Among the six developments are three on the North Side. The awards are in addition to the nearly $26 million dollars worth of recent WHEDA tax-credit investment along a ten-block stretch of North Avenue from Sherman Boulevard to North 33rd Street.

The new developments will include:

New Village – a 24-unit, scattered-site family housing development, combining new apartments with renovated units;

London Square Apartments – an existing Section 8 development of 115 low-income rental units that will undergo substantial expansion and renovation; and

Toussaint Square – 23 affordable family units and retail space on its third floor. This is also a North Avenue CDC effort, and will help anchor further development in the area.

“Everyone in our state deserves a decent place to live – no matter their age, background, or income,” Governor Doyle said. “And through WHEDA, and great partnerships with the private sector, we are expanding our supply of affordable housing in Wisconsin. We must make sure that we have housing that is not only safe, secure, and well-maintained, but also available where it is needed.”

Since 2003, the Doyle Administration has made affordable housing tax credit awards worth nearly $80 million in Milwaukee, helping preserve or create more than 1,400 apartment units. Another 200 apartment units have been built because of millions of dollars in direct WHEDA lending.

Additionally, the Doyle Administration has financed mortgages for more than 1,200 families – helping them become homeowners through low-interest loans worth nearly $120 million. Millions of dollars in small business loans and the New Markets Tax Credit program have created hundreds of family-supporting jobs in Milwaukee.