The new Greenwich Park development blends permanent supportive housing units with market-rate apartments in Milwaukee.

“It’s probably the most across-the-board mixed-income development in our portfolio,” says developer Mark Angelini, president of Mercy Housing Lakefront.

Mercy Housing Lakefront has fully leased Greenwich Park, a new development that blends supportive-housing and market-rate apartments in Milwaukee
Nairn Olker/Alloy Photography Mercy Housing Lakefront has fully leased Greenwich Park, a new development that blends supportive-housing and market-rate apartments in Milwaukee

The 53-unit community has 36 affordable apartments—14 permanent supportive housing units and 22 apartments that serve households earning no more than 60% of the area median income. The remaining 17 units are market-rate apartments. The affordable homes are identical to the market-rate units, and they’re distributed throughout the building.

Located next door to Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital, Greenwich Park offers residents the opportunity to live near health care, jobs, and other important resources.

It was a policy objective of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County to provide housing in areas that are rich in services, says Angelini.

Having grown up in a diverse lower-middle-class community on Chicago’s West Side, he knows the benefits of living in a mixed-income community. “It was a mix of life,” Angelini says. “We lose a lot when we lose that kind of diversity and begin to think that people who aren’t just like us aren’t really as worthwhile as we are. I think one of the ways to get through that is to enable people of diverse backgrounds to have opportunities to live in the same communities.”

Permanent supportive housing residents have needs and will be in different stages healing from their ailments, so it’s critical to have an on-site caseworker, according to Angelini.

At mixed-income or mixed-tenant developments, it’s also important to hold all residents accountable.

“I think the best practice is to show an egalitarian spirit and then to also communicate that same sort of equal approach,” he says. “There’s an obligation on the end of the renters, all of them, to abide by the rules that help ensure a good stable community within the four walls.”

To finance the $13.8 million Greenwich Park, Mercy Housing Lakefront worked closely with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). WHEDA awarded $652,000 in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) and supported mixing in market-rate units into the development as a way to leverage strong local market forces, which allowed for a larger first mortgage and reduced the need for other public resources, according to Angelini.

Most working families in Milwaukee pay more than 50% of their income for housing, so the 36 families living in Greenwich Park's affordable homes will see a major reduction in their housing costs. Collectively, they will save about $400,000 a year by paying affordable rents, estimate officials.

PNC Real Estate provided about $6.5 million in LIHTC equity as well as a long-term financing facility that combines a first and second mortgage.