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Stage set for Bradley Crossing expansion, Beaver Creek development plans

April 24, 2013

Brown Deer - Proposals for two low-income housing developments are likely to come before the village in light of a Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority announcement last week that both have been approved for tax credits.

Each year, developers submit plans to WHEDA to compete for a limited amount of tax credits which allow recipient developers to offer apartments at a below-market rate to low-income renters. Milwaukee-based developer General Capital, who partnered with Jewish Family Services to open the Bradley Crossing Supportive Housing Community in November, applied for and received tax credits for a 54-unit expansion of Bradley Crossing and a 44-unit rental development at the Beaver Creek site at 60th Street and Brown Deer Road.

"The competition was very stiff," General Capital President Mike Weiss said. "I think it says a lot about Brown Deer and what we've already done in Brown Deer with Deerwood Crossing and Bradley Crossing."

The planned Bradley Crossing expansion retains the 50/50 mix of disability and low income as the original development, Weiss said, while the planned Beaver Creek development would be 75 percent general population and 25 percent disability, with 37 of the 44 units at a low-income rental rate and seven at a market rate. Weiss said General Capital is in the final stages of putting together proposals. While he couldn't say exactly when the proposals will come before the village, he said it would be "sooner rather than later" and that General Capital is shooting for construction in the fall.

General Capital and the village partnered via tax incremental financing in 2007 to build 51 condominiums on the site. General Capital built 10 before the economic collapse of 2008, selling four and eventually renting the other six. The Village Board in January voted to suspend the original 2007 Beaver Creek development agreement temporarily so General Capital could apply for the WHEDA tax credits.

Both the Bradley Crossing expansion and Beaver Creek development will need to come before the Plan Commission and Village Board, said village Planning and Zoning Director Nate Piotrowski, and the Beaver Creek project will also need to come before the Community Development Authority and will require a formal public hearing in addition to site plan review at the Plan Commission level.

And it seems almost a certainty that the Beaver Creek project will meet with opposition along the way through those public meetings. 

Village Hall was at capacity last week during a Village Board meeting, teeming with a standing-room-only crowd of neighbors to Beaver Creek who turned in a 1,044-signature petition against rentals on the site. They argue that when the original development agreement emerged from a series of open meetings at which the public weighed in, two concepts were agreed to: that the upscale condominiums would be a transition from the Brown Deer Road commercial area to residential areas to the north, east and west, serving to complement existing residential properties, and that the condominiums would be owner-occupied.

While the petitioners have made it clear they don't oppose low-income housing, General Capital's plans for the Beaver Creek site don't conform to the original development agreement which they are urging village officials to uphold.

Weiss said that his plan for selling the public on the Bradley Crossing expansion and Bradley Crossing-esque development at Beaver Creek will be to invite the public to open houses at Bradley Crossing and see it for themselves.

"I think (Bradley Crossing and nearby assisted-living facility Deerwood Crossing) speak for themselves, in their quality and care and how they're operated," Weiss said. "I think the deciders know that, and have seen that, and are enthusiastic. I can't convince a thousand people to change their minds, but I think I can explain what we've done and how we're operating and proceed with an open dialogue."

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