Affordable apartment complex aims to solve city's low vacancy - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New Affordable apartment complex aims to solve city's low vacancy rate


MADISON (WKOW)-- Some major development projects are being proposed on Madison's north side. Each of them aims to provide additional housing options for city residents as city officials and developers work to solve the city's low vacancy rate of just under 2%.

One of the projects is already underway. The Granite Ridge Apartment complex is being built across the street from Madison Police's North District office. Other projects nearby are still in their development phase.

Those projects are all being built in the empty lot along Tennyson Lane where the old poultry research center lies vacant. The lot of land will be split up into three parcels where three different projects are taking place.

The first will be a mixed unit project with some housing and businesses. That project is still early in it's development and several details still need to be hashed out. The parcel next door will feature an independent senior living facility. That project is already approved and is ready to go.

Developers working on the third and final parcel are proposing to build 25 single family homes and an affordable apartment complex with 72 units. Developers and Madison alders met with neighbors in the area to hear their ideas and concerns with the project.

"This is a neighborhood that hasn't developed or grown in many years and suddenly has now seen many projects happen," Madison District 12 Alder Larry Palm says. "Immediately there's concern, anxieties and people talking about this change."

The change is frightening to some and exciting for others. Some neighbors have concerns of increased population density and traffic in the area, but a majority at Thursday night's meeting saw the potential of breathing new life into the area. While also filling a growing need in the community.

"Many of the apartments that have been developed in Madison lately are very high end, very expensive apartments and these would be more typical and affordable apartments for everyday people," TW Sather Company developer Tom Sather says.

Developers working on the apartment complex project say it would cost around $11.6 million. The group is seeking support from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) to keep the units affordable.

Developers say a one bedroom would start out at around $740 a month with two bedroom units coming in around $900 and three bedrooms just over $1,000. The units are designed to fit working class families and single adults.

"The cost of housing and food and transportation in the city of Madison has gone up tremendously more than people's salaries and therefore this is a way to bring that housing cost back in line with what people's living wages are," Palm says.

Developers are going with an approach of, if you build it they will come. They're hoping the affordable housing will inspire business development nearby and bring economic activity to the area.

"These are all major projects that I think would make a very positive impact on the development of the north side," Sather says.

The Madison Common Council will hear the apartment complex proposal next week and they'll discuss whether or not to re-zone the area along Tennyson Lane. Developers hope to start construction later this year, and possibly open in the Summer or Fall of 2015.

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