Updated: WHEDA award supports Superior housing projectSuperior city officials received welcome news Monday. A long-awaited housing project got the go-ahead from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Agency. The state agency announced a proposal to build a new 50-unit senior living facility on the southeast corner of Weeks Avenue and North 13th Street would get tax credits needed to help fund the project.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Superior city officials received welcome news Monday.
A long-awaited housing project got the go-ahead from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Agency. The state agency announced a proposal to build a new 50-unit senior living facility on the southeast corner of Weeks Avenue and North 13th Street would get tax credits needed to help fund the project.
The awards, which included projects in Green Bay and Milwaukee are part of a special round of project awards having strong economic development or redevelopment attributes.
Gerrard Corporation of La Crosse, Wis., which is proposing to build Grand Central Plaza in Superior, will receive $407,382 in tax credits for the project.
“WHEDA is thrilled to provide tax credits that will result in significant developments,” said Wyman Winston, WHEDA executive director in a prepared statement.
In January, the Superior City Council committed to providing $300,000 in 2014 Community Block Grant Funding for the project, to be paid when the project is complete.
The housing developer is proposing to build affordable and market-rate apartments on about 50,000 square feet of land.
"We're very excited and very pleased with the announcement," said Paul Gerrard, one of the siblings that founded the family business. “Now we have a lot of work to do.”
The corporation’s development portfolio includes luxury apartments, condominiums, and student, senior and family apartments in addition to housing and vacation home developments. The company has holdings throughout Wisconsin and in Rochester, Minn., with development projects that cross seven states as far west as Montana.
The Grand Central Plaza is slated for construction in an ailing tax increment district in the area of the former Central School.
Finance Director Jean Vito estimated the project would generate about $81,000 in tax increment, reducing the burden on another district to help pay bonds used to buy and raze homes in the area.
Despite the good news, Vito said the city still has to move ahead with plans to declare the district distressed because the increment falls short of what the city needs to pay its debt.
“The Gerrard development will allow us to close TID No. 7 (Interstate Industrial Park in North End) earlier than 2028 as TID No. 11 will now generate some increment,” Vito said.
Currently, the taxpayer supported general fund is paying about $155,000 per year to make the payments on the bonds in TID No. 11, which includes property from North 13th to Belknap Street between Grand and Fisher avenues.
Paul Gerrard, one the siblings that founded Gerrard Corporation, said in January, they envision grade level parking beneath the building and apartment living that starts on the second floor. The building would include spaces to recreate and feature apartments with washers, dryers, dishwashers and disposals to be managed by the Superior Housing Authority.
The scope of this project is to expand the city of Superior and Douglas County’s affordable housing units that are desperately needed for elderly individuals, said Mayor Bruce Hagen. “In fact, the city of Superior has the oldest housing stock in the state and is inadequate to meet its current housing needs based on today’s standards.”
Gerrard has made substantial investments and a year of planning with the city to reach this exciting day for the city and seniors, Mayor Bruce Hagen said, adding the commitment of the City Council, and Port and Planning Director Jason Serck helped make this senior housing project possible.
Gerrard said the company will start construction next spring with a groundbreaking planned for April, weather permitting.