Monday, December 8, 2014

Milwaukee Forest Home Library Proposal To Relocate To Chávez Drive Or W. Historic Mitchell St.

Two multi-million dollar proposal options would relocate the Milwaukee Forest Home Library on Chávez Drive or W. Historic Mitchell Street, according to city officials.

By H. Nelson Goodson
December 8, 2014

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - In August, Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) first broke the story about Dental Associates on Chávez Drive were planning to relocate and the property at the 1100 block of S. César E. Chávez Drive would be vacant temperarily. Milwaukee city developers have unveiled two multi-million proposed project options to relocate the Southside Milwaukee Forest Home to Chávez Drive or W. Historic Mitchell St. 
One of the proposed projects would develop a three story building which would house the Forest Home Library, which will change its name to the César  Chávez Library, will have 51 affordable housing apartments, a coffee shop and a cultural performing arts center for visual arts, public art and performing art spaces.
The 1966 Forest Home Library at 1432 W. Forest Home Ave. is in need of upgrading, but city developers are proposing a new location to build a new library or use an existing building.
The $21 million Chávez Drive proposal was unveiled by Cardinal Capitol and the Journey House on December 2.
It is estimated that the library cost would be $7M and $1M for White Box built out. An additional $14M needed to build the upper three levels with apartment units. 
The second proposal was unveiled by Gorman & Company from Oregon, WI, which is proposing to relocate the Forest Home Library  to the Hills Building, 930 W. Historic Mitchell St. The Gorman proposal would established the library on the first vacant Hills floor, inculde 96 parking spaces and convert the upper levels to 33 apartment units. The cost estimated would be $400K for construction of the apartments, $1.5M to purchase for the library and $1.1M for White Box out built out.
The project would be funded through city funds, and state and federal historic equity tax credit and would seek new market credits as well, according to the Gorman proposal. 
The apartment units would be financed by WHEDA affordable tax equity credit, including federal and state historic tax credits, which both the lower level library and upper levels apartment construction costs total at least $10.4M. Gorman will partner with VJS construction to develop and upgrade the Hills building.

Cardinal Capitol/Journey House option (PDF):

Gorman and Company option (PDF):


On Wednesday, December 10, a Milwaukee Library Board of Trustees Committee rejected the Chávez Drive and Hills Building proposals for the Forest Home Library relocation.
One week later, the committee picked the Hills Building.

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