Common Council to vote on millions in affordable housing funding initiatives Tuesday

MADISON, Wis. — Funding for hundreds of affordable housing units throughout Madison will be on Tuesday’s Common Council docket.

The Community Development Division is proposing two resolutions for the council — to spend $8.9 million in affordable housing funds and $4 million to foster affordable homeownership.

The first resolution involves $8.9 million to be committed to three redevelopment projects:

  • Up to $2,500,000 to Northpointe Development, in partnership with Dreamlane Real Estate Group, for the Merchant Place Apartments project on Odana Road;
  • Up to $3,500,000 to St. John’s Lutheran Church, in partnership with Urban Land Interests, for the St. John’s Lutheran Church Redevelopment along East Washington Avenue near the Capitol Square; and
  • Up to $2,950,000 to Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corporation (WHPC) for the Gardner Bakery Redevelopment at East Washington Avenue and Fair Oaks Avenue.

The Gardner Bakery redevelopment is also seeking an award of tax increment financing to be considered Tuesday, for a total of $11.3 million in city investments.

According to Linette Rhodes, community development grants supervisor for the CDD, two of the developers have agreed that 236 units will remain permanently affordable.

“Typically, when we fund a development project, we’re putting a land use restriction which requires a certain time limit that the units are affordable. Typically in our (request for proposals), our application processes, that’s a 40-year limit,” Rhodes said. “We are now trying to negotiate with developers to push that even further than 40 years and have them sign agreements that it will be permanently affordable.”

In total, the three developments would set up 500 new rental units around the city, 344 of which qualify as affordable.

“All of these are on a preferred bus line where our bus rapid transit is going to be,” Rhodes said. “So that is something that, you know, we really want to get ahead of the market of making sure we have those affordable units in areas where there are high amenities.”

The second resolution would commit $4 million in city and federal dollars to nine local organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Project Home to focus on supporting homeownership through homebuyer education, down-payment assistance and more.

“We want to make sure that there are opportunities for individuals to also acquire or make sure that there is a program and availability if people are in their homes if they need rehab or assistance with making modifications in their homes,” said Rhodes.