Enterprise Community to Adapt Historic Wisconsin Building into Affordable Housing

Enterprise Community Investment announced a $3.4 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit deal to adapt a former National Guard armory in Wisconsin into affordable homes.
A rendering of 2219 Lofts

A rendering of 2219 Lofts

La Crosse, Wis.—Enterprise Community Investment Inc., known for its focus on financing, building and managing affordable housing, has landed a $3.4 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) deal to help transform a historic building into 25 affordable apartments for low-income families.

“Rising costs of living nationwide mean we must provide long-term affordability in small cities like La Crosse in addition to our larger urban centers,” said Raoul Moore, senior vice president of syndication at Enterprise. “Through the Housing Credit, Enterprise is able to make flexible investments with our partners to create affordable homes where they are needed most.”

In addition to the increased cost of living, renter demand is booming, leading to a lack of affordable housing supply.

“Nearly 19 million families in the United States are housing insecure, meaning they are homeless or paying more than half their monthly income on housing…Enterprise works to combat this issue across the country on three main fronts: we create, preserve and advocate for affordable housing connected to jobs, good schools, transit and health care; we lend funds and finance development; and we shape new strategies, solutions and policy to create healthier, more equitable communities,”Anna Scallet, a development analyst with Enterprise, told MHN.  She added that the company’s goal is to end housing insecurity in the United States. In fact, the company has set forth the goal of helping provide quality affordable housing and connections to jobs, good schools, transit and healthcare to 1 million low-income families by 2020.

The company is making headway, completing its 2,000th LIHTC equity investment last April, and is continuing its momentum this year with its latest project.

However, Scallet pointed out that there are some challenges in developing affordable housing. “Because the ultimate goal is to maintain affordability, affordable housing deals can be difficult to structure because of limited cash flow or upside potential for investors. And developers must manage the requirements of multiple funders while still creating housing that residents want to live in. Our affordable housing deals undergo a rigorous vetting process to ensure that the homes we create will remain stable and affordable for the long term,” she said.

The historic building located at 2219 South Ave., La Cross, Wis.

The historic building located at 2219 South Ave., La Crosse, Wis. (Image via Google Maps)

The historic building that is undergoing an adaptive re-use transformation was originally built in 1903 as part of the Gund Brewery Campus, and will be designated a historic site by the National Park Service because it served as the home of the Wisconsin National Guard Armory from 1926 to 1958. The building then housed the Bakalars Sausage Co. factory from 1962 to 2013 before it was left vacant.

2219 Lofts, located at 2219 South Ave., is close to public transit and The Gunderson Health System campus is just north of the property. The new community, which began development late last year, will offer 25 new homes, six of which will be reserved for homeless individuals and their families and 23 of which will be designated for those making between 30 and 60 percent of the AMI (or up to $42,420 for a family of four). The will create one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for residents to choose from and rents will range from $329 to $866.

The project is expected to be complete by the end of the year, and will include the addition of amenities such as a community room, computer room and exercise room. Services such as skills training, emergency food assistance and case management from the Veterans Assistance Foundation, Couleecap and the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Western Wisconsin will also be available to residents.

The team leading the project is developer MetroPlains LLC, along with Dave Cecil Builders and architecture firm Sikes Abernathie.

Rendering courtesy of Enterprise Community Investment