Developed in the early 1920s as the nation’s first municipally sponsored housing cooperative, Milwaukee’s Garden Homes were designed to provide working class Milwaukeeans with quality, affordable housing amid a population boom driven by rapid growth in the city’s manufacturing sector. As manufacturing declined in later years and jobs became less plentiful, however, the Garden Homes and the infrastructure of the surrounding area deteriorated in a spiral of disinvestment fueled in part by Milwaukee’s status as one of the most segregated cities in the United States.
What remained was a core group of residents with deep roots in the Garden Homes neighborhood and an intense desire to preserve its historic character and social fabric. Years spent working to stave off proposals to demolish the Garden Homes while strengthening the community culminated between 2016 and 2018 with a focused effort coordinated by a nonprofit, 30th Street Industrial Corridor, to develop a strategic action plan designed to holistically revitalize the neighborhood in close partnership with community stakeholders.
From there, 30th Street Industrial Corridor embarked on the complex task of securing the funding and financing needed to bring the $8.4 million redevelopment of 18 Garden Homes to fruition, spending the better part of the next several years assembling the capital stack for the scattered site project and building the relationships necessary to embark on its ambitious plan to save the century-old homes. That effort was successful, with construction on the homes beginning in August 2022. As a first-time developer, 30th Street Industrial Corridor partnered with Cinnaire Solutions to realize the community’s vision for the project. To help facilitate the rehab of the Garden Homes, IFF provided a $5.5 million loan for the project.
Earlier this month, 30th Street Industrial Corridor celebrated the completion of the project, which created 24 units of quality housing affordable to residents earning 30-60 percent of the Area Median Income while preserving the historic nature of the Garden Homes. Check out the LinkedIn post below from 30th Street Industrial Corridor Executive Director Cheryl Blue to see before and after photos of the homes!
30th Street Industrial Corridor · Housing
Milwaukee's Garden Homes
Learn more about the revitalization of the Garden Homes by reading our February 2023 story, “100 Years After Breaking New Ground, Milwaukee’s Garden Homes Neighborhood Gets a New Lease on Life as an Anchor for Community Revitalization.”Read Story