Westlawn Gardens receiving national attention for setting new standard for quality development
The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee held its annual meeting this week, which included a celebration featuring Mayor Tom Barrett, awards for more than a dozen community partners, residents planting in a community garden, and the grand opening of the nationally-recognized Westlawn Gardens development. The meeting coincided with the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for development of the retail site at the southwest corner of W. Silver Spring Dr. and N. 60th St., which is expected to be an anchor store for the neighborhood. The RFP is available at www.hacm.org.
“Milwaukee is leading the way for building sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with quality housing stock that is meant to last,” said Barrett. “The Housing Authority is doing a great job in making Milwaukee stronger economically and helping families achieve economic self-sufficiency.”
The agency held its annual meeting outdoors at 62nd & Custer, in front of the development’s Community Gardens, with participants noting the national recognition and many accolades the new planned neighborhood has already won. Common Council President Willie L. Hines, Jr., who serves as Chairman of the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners, and Secretary-Executive Director Tony Pérez made remarks, and tours of the site were offered. In addition, Kali Huettl, a Housing Authority resident who recently graduated from Riverside University High School, was recognized for being one of only 1,000 Gates Millennium Scholars nationally.
“We are tremendously proud of the positive recognition this neighborhood has received, not only locally, but from national experts in housing development,” said Pérez. “This neighborhood is innovative, environmentally sustainable, and ready for more development by those interested in taking advantage of our many amenities.”
Participants in the meeting, who included Board members, residents, agency staff, neighbors, developers, elected officials and interested members of the public, had the opportunity to review the success of the Housing Authority over the past year. Westlawn Gardens, which has won numerous awards in the past year from regional and national observers of housing development, is now 100 percent leased, and the agency anticipates announcing future development opportunities along the eastern and southern edges of the neighborhood.
The Housing Authority is setting the pace nationally in creating smart, sustainable developments that utilize the best experience and thinking available to build desirable neighborhoods,” said Hines. “Milwaukee should be proud of what we are accomplishing, and those looking to create economic opportunity should consider investing in the Westlawn Gardens neighborhood.”
Westlawn Gardens was built on the eastern half of the Westlawn development, and includes multifamily buildings, townhomes and single-family homes housing more than 300 residents; public and retail space; a partnership with Growing Power to make community gardens available to area residents; cutting-edge environmental and sustainability features; and innovative “healthy” homes features that make living with asthma and other disabilities easier. A series of “bio-swales” that collect rainwater in natural reservoirs are especially gaining recognition for their utility in reducing pressure on the sewer system and Milwaukee’s Deep Tunnel, thereby helping to reduce the chances of untreated wastewater being flushed into Lake Michigan.
“If you’re looking to build in Milwaukee for your own family home or as an investment opportunity, you couldn’t do better than Westlawn Gardens,” said Pérez. “Whether it’s the fantastic partnership with Growing Power, the two schools and the community center right in the neighborhood, or the great people we have living here, this property has much to offer.”
In addition to the approximately half-acre of land available for anchor retail space at Silver Spring and 60th, there are two additional smaller retail spaces available for lease on the southern side of 62nd and Silver Spring, on the first floor of mid-rise apartment buildings. In the near future, the agency expects to announce plans for additional single- or multi-family housing.