Developer: Gorman & Co., Inc.

Architect: Gorman & Co., Inc.

Major Funders: Alliant Capital; IFF; JPMorgan Chase; Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority; city of Milwaukee 

The Northside Housing Initiative takes a bite out of two prevailing problems in its Milwaukee neighborhood— foreclosures and unemployment. Focusing within a two-mile area, Gorman & Co., Inc., purchased vacant lots from the city to build 40 single-family homes and substantially rehabilitated a series of duplexes to provide another 40 affordable units and preserve the neighborhood character.

“It has stabilized the neighborhood,” says Ted Matkom, Wisconsin market president for the firm. “It has eliminated blight. When you drive down the street it looks like a new subdivision.”

More than that, the effort produced jobs in an area where the unemployment rate for African-Americans is 50 percent. Gorman partnered with the Northcott Neighborhood House to train youths and adults with troubled backgrounds to work in construction. More than 50 full-time jobs were created during the project for program graduates who were hired as subcontractors.

Several workers even applied to live in the housing that they helped build. Residents of the single-family homes will have an opportunity to buy their houses at the end of 15 years.

The new homes cap an effort that began with the city acquiring thousands of properties during the foreclosure crisis so it could steer the neighborhood recovery.

The $16.4 million initiative is made up of two low-income housing tax credit projects that target families earning no more than 50 percent and 60 percent of the area median income. The city also used Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds.