WHEDA: Governor Doyle Announces Nearly $4 Million in New Markets Tax Credits for Lena’s Food Markets

Ron Legro, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, 414-227-2291
Ethnie Groves, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2156

Credits Will Help Milwaukee Grocer Create 145 Jobs in the Central City

MILWAUKEE – Governor Jim Doyle announced today a $3.7 million investment by the Wisconsin Community Development Legacy Fund to support an expansion of Milwaukee’s minority-owned Lena’s Food Market chain, creating 145 jobs in the central city.

“This expansion will enable Lena’s to be more competitive, and most importantly, it will create jobs in the central city,” Governor Doyle said. “It represents a major business expansion in Milwaukee. And because Lena’s uses Wisconsin-based vendors to fill their grocery store shelves, the new store will help the economy not only here in Milwaukee, but statewide.”

New Markets Tax Credits will be used to redevelop a 33,000 square foot building that formerly housed a Kohl’s Food Store at 4030 West Teutonia Avenue. In addition, Lena’s Food Markets will also develop 49,900 square feet of warehouse space at 2930 West Center Street. Another 12,000 square feet of retail space will be developed at the corner of West Capitol Drive and North Teutonia. Leases have already been negotiated with a Subway franchise restaurant and Family Dollar retail store to locate in a portion of that space.

Receiving the tax credits will be CAPTA LLC, a Milwaukee-based, minority-owned investment entity whose principals are Derrick, Gregory, Anthony, and Bruce Martin. Under the deal, CAPTA LLC will be able to sell the credits to generate capital to make the new investment.

“This investment will enable the Martin family to open their fourth Lena’s supermarket, a large warehouse, and additional retail space,” Governor Doyle said. “Hardworking families like the Martins are the reason Wisconsin is successful at creating jobs and growing our economy.”

The Martin family has owned and operated retail and wholesale grocery stores in Milwaukee for more than 35 years. The family operates three Lena’s Food Markets on Milwaukee’s north side, employing more than 200 people. Earlier this year, the family was honored with the YMCA’s Strong Communities Award for their efforts to foster community development.

“I made it clear in my ‘Grow Wisconsin’ economic development plan that I am committed to helping minority businesses grow and prosper,” Governor Doyle said. “Today’s announcement is great example of the kind of progress we’ve made. These tax credits will enable an important, minority-owned business to better serve the community.”

The investment uses New Markets Tax Credits, part of a $100 million allocation secured by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), Legacy Bancorp, and Impact Seven through the Wisconsin Community Development Legacy Fund (WCDLF), a partnership entity.

Under the Doyle Administration, WHEDA and its partners created the fund in a successful quest for federal New Markets Tax Credits. The credits are targeted to investments in distressed economic areas of Wisconsin. WCDLF has already funded $23 million worth of projects throughout the state that are expected to create or preserve about 500 jobs.

“The new investment exemplifies a cooperative approach being encouraged by Governor Doyle’s ‘Grow Wisconsin’ Initiative,” said Antonio Riley, WHEDA executive director.

“Legacy Bancorp shares Governor Doyle’s vision to grow Wisconsin’s economy,” said Margaret Henningsen, bank president. “We are proud of the partnership we have created with Governor Doyle and WHEDA.”

WHEDA is Wisconsin’s state housing finance authority. Its goal is to stimulate and preserve affordable housing, small business, and agribusiness.

Legacy Bancorp is the only bank holding company in the nation organized by African-American women. It is dedicated to providing financial services to underserved neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Since its creation in 1999, the bank has grown to more than $100 million in assets.