Developer closes the door on affordable housing plan

Proposal had met with early resistance from city officials

Aug. 18, 2010

Greenfield — Plans for an affordable housing apartment proposal near 94th Street and Layton Avenue have been scrapped.

A public hearing was supposed to be held during Tuesday night's Common Council meeting, but it did not happen because the developer informed city officials on Friday he was pulling the project, Mayor Michael Neitzke said.

The proposal, called Preserve at Greenfield, consisted of three 22-unit multi-family buildings on 5.2 acres near 94th Street and Layton Avenue.

Problems from the start

Ohio-based Fortus Group first introduced the plans earlier this summer, but as they proceeded, it was clear several challenges existed.

Preserve at Greenfield drew resistance from the city's Plan Commission, which recommended the council not approve a zoning change necessary for the project to go through.

Plan Commission members said they were concerned about the proposal's 66-unit high population density and architectural quality.

Those plans, as presented to the commission as the basis for the rezoning request, are gone, said Chuck Erickson, planning and economic development director. He added that the land's ownership hasn't changed hands as a result of the failed proposal, but what will happen next is unknown.

Fortus Group President Chad Glassburn could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

The commission's June review of the project, coincidentally, also came just days after a controversy in neighboring New Berlin over an affordable housing project.

A month later, state officials put the developers' application for $1 million in federal tax credits, a key part of their plan to finance the project, on hold.

Affordable housing concept

Residents of Preserve at Greenfield would have earned less than 60 percent of the area's median gross income - for a family of four, that would mean a maximum income level of $42,420.

Rents would have ranged from $525 to $900 per month.

Some city officials, including Mayor Michael Neitzke, favored the plans because they would add between $10 million and $12 million in assessed property value to the city's tax rolls while limiting the impact on surrounding neighbors.

In addition to the one-, two- and three-bedroom units, plans also called for amenities such as a community room, fitness center, outdoor plaza and children's play area.

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