MLK group plans next King Drive housing project

Martin Luther King Economic Development Corp. could buy and renovate the mostly vacant Milwaukee Enterprise Center into 57 apartments.

The project would be the fifth phase of the organization’s King Drive Commons developments, which have brought new affordable housing to Milwaukee’s near north side. The Enterprise Center at North Fourth and West Hadley streets is surrounded by the other King Drive Commons projects, said¬†Bob Lemke, president of Wisconsin Redevelopment LLC, a partner on the estimated $13 million project.

“We’re really in the exploration stage, trying to put all of that together,” he said. “This building could have an impact on all of those previous phases of the project, so that is what really heightened our interest.”

The developers would use affordable housing tax credits for the project and may also seek historic restoration tax credits. About 15 percent of the apartments would be market-rate, and the rest would be reserved for low-income residents.

The project would retain and upgrade about 30,000 square feet of the 193,000-square-foot building’s office space, Lemke said.

The building currently is an incubator and has tenants in more than 40,000 square feet of space.

The building is owned by the real estate arm of Mercy Foundation Group, a Florida-based nonprofit. The organization accepts donations of real estate and sells the properties to raise money for loans to disadvantaged students and entrepreneurs across the globe. Mercy had planned to auction the Enterprise Center this fall, but canceled the auction after Martin Luther King EDC and Wisconsin Redevelopment expressed interest, Lemke said.

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