A Common Council committee has unanimously recommended that $171,000 in city funding be awarded to a development group to help finance the first project in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville area.
According to a recent report, the Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee recommended providing the loan to Vangard Group LLC and Endeavour Corp., two local development firms, and Impact Seven, a non-profit developer based in Almena, Wisconsin, which is located in the northwest portion of the state.
The three development firms have formed an investment group called Inner City Arts LLC, which plans to buy a city-owned building that once housed the Milwaukee Inner City Arts Council, 642 W. North Ave.
The building was known for its mural, painted by local muralist Renaldo Hernandez. The mural depicts various fine art disciplines.
The project will be the first development since the Bronzeville district was created in 2005. The area is bordered by West Garfield Ave., West Center Street, North 7th Street and North King Drive.
The building was originally built in 1876 as a fire station. The building has been vacant for several years since the demise of the Inner City Arts Council. The group will reportedly buy the 4,800 square foot building for $10,000 and spend $501,000 remodeling it into offices.
The first floor of the building will house Vangard’s and Endeavour’s offices.
The remaining space will be used as a construction plan review room for contractors. The city loan would come from a tax incremental financing district. The developers would not have to repay it as long as Inner City Arts keeps ownership of the building for seven years, and Vangard and Endeavour remain as tenants.
“This is a truly catalytic and positive development, and it’s only the beginning for Bronzeville,” said Ald. Milele Coggs, whose sixth district is where the project is located.
“I will continue working diligently to make sure all proposed Bronzeville projects are viable and that they’ll pour value into the district and the neighborhood as a whole.”
The funds will be repaid through property taxes generated by the office building.
The city Comptroller’s Office said there will be enough tax revenue generated by the office project to pay back the funds.
The measure will go to the full Common Council when it meets at 9 a.m. on July 27, in the third floor Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.