By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 30, 2023 at 12:01 PM

A long idle former city sanitation ward yard on the East Side – vacant since 1991 – could be getting a new apartment building soon, with a unique twist: a high-profile “food accelerator” space.

On Thursday, July 6, the City of Milwaukee’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee will discuss a resolution by neighborhood Ald. Jonathan Brostoff to sell the 1.34-acre parcel to GenCap KG North Avenue 91, LLC, a partnership between General Capital Group and Anthony Kazee of KG Development Group.

(RENDERINGS: Engberg Anderson)

The developer plans to combine the odd-shaped lot with two smaller adjacent parcels – one being the site of a Clear Channel billboard that would be removed – owned by ReadCo, to build a 91-unit affordable family housing building with 91 percent of the apartments available to families earning 30-80 percent of the County’s median income.

The Riverwest Workforce Apartments and Food Accelerator – which has 83 affordable units and eight market-rate apartments, with 19 units set aside for tenants with, “a permanent developmental, physical, sensory, medical or mental health disability.”

In addition to 37 surface parking spots, 58 covered parking spots and 10 public parking spots, the development includes the Riverwest Food Accelerator, “a demonstration kitchen and education space with a focus on fresh food, cooking, nutrition education and food-oriented entrepreneurship.”

The accelerator space will be visible to passersby on North Avenue via a double-height glass storefront.

According to a city documents, "Residents may participate in various programs and classes offered through the Project’s Food Accelerator as well as programs hosted onsite by other organizations."

Site map.

The building would be across Commerce Street from UW-Milwaukee's RiverView residence hall, and across North Avenue from a commercial development with a Pick 'N Save grocery store, and from the Adventure Rock/Belay building.

The city declared the former ward lot to be surplus property in 2004. It is being sold to the developer for $750,000, putting a formerly tax-exempt site onto property tax rolls.

A previous development had received approval, but never came to fruition, requiring a new resolution, which would seem to be little more than a procedural issue at this point.

On June 15, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee unanimously approved the plan.

The development is expected to cost $30.4 million, and will be financed through a combination of equity from low income housing tax credits, WHEDA tax exempt bond financing, American Recovery Plan Act funds allocated by the State of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Housing Trust Funds, a $1.25 million developer-financed Tax Incremental Financing district, deferred developer fees and other grants and loans.

The east side of the building, which faces UW-Milwaukee's RiverView residence hall.

According to city documents, GenCap KG North Avenue 91 was awarded WHEDA tax credits from the State of Wisconsin in the spring of 2021.

Engberg Anderson is the project architect. Bedrock Construction is expected to serve as general contractor and Catalyst Construction will be construction manager on the project, which is slated for completion by the end of 2024.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.