It’s been a long journey to bring the anticipated Walnut Street Flats to downtown Reedsburg. Now the wait is finally over.
Cohen-Esrey Development Group, the developer in the project, held the ground breaking ceremony Oct. 4 at the site of the construction location at 201 South Walnut Street to mark construction of the 33-unit multi family apartment complex finally getting underway.
City officials, construction teams, financial lenders and members of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and the public were present at the ceremony.
“These projects always take time and this one has been no exception to that and while we are not done yet we are celebrating the kick off of it,” said Tom Anderson, managing director with Cohen-Esrey Development Group.
Anderson said the process of bringing the $6.5 million apartment project was not easy. It took about three years to officially get the project off to construction with multiple setbacks faced, including figuring out how to fund the project. The funding Walnut Street Flats includes $497,352 in tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority as well as a TIF loan from the city for $315,000 and bank loans.
The project is scheduled for completion in July 2019.
Mayor David Estes spoke about the benefits of adding the affordable housing option to Reedsburg.
“Multi-family housing is one of the big things that’s been stressed upon the last few years,” Estes said in his remarks.
He also added the building will provide an upgrade to the downtown area. The original site contained the Old Glory Days building that housed several businesses before it fell into disrepair and also contained the first hospital established in the 1890s. The blighted area as some officials have referred to it as was demolished in December 2017 to make room for the apartments.
Anderson said Walnut Street Flats are designed for housing working people who live in the city.
The construction site, located behind the police department, will contain 33 unit multi-family apartment complex will contain one, two and three bedroom apartments. According to a press release from Cohen-Esrey twenty-eight of the apartments will be dedicated to those earning at or below 60 percent of the median income in Sauk County. The remaining five units will not be income restricted. The release also states seven of the units will be available to veterans through a partnership with the Sauk County Veterans Services Office.
Anderson said housing is an important infrastructure investment for communities that can provide a positive domino effect of industry and job growth as well as attracting additional people to communities.
“It’s an important part of your infrastructure,” he said. “You cannot grow, you cannot have industry, you cannot have job growth unless you have that infrastructure in place and housing is a piece of that infrastructure.”
Reedsburg Industrial and Commercial Development Commission Chairman Don Lichte echoed what Anderson said about providing housing to the city’s growing industrial industry, which includes approximately 5,000 jobs in 35 industries.
“What a great asset for economic development,” Lichte said of the apartment project. “With our 35 industries in Reedsburg housing is a big huge factor.”