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Wanted: Visionaries

by Janice Christensen The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee is seeking proposals for the purchase and development of the vacant land at 1940-48 North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The 75 by 150-foot lot is between Reader’s Choice Bookstore and a mixed-use structure housing the Milwaukee Times Newspaper. The site is in the King Drive-West Reservoir Redevelopment Project area, and also part of a National Historic District and the King Drive Business Improvement District. The asking price is $45,000. Preferred use for the site is a retail or commercial use on the ground floor. Residential use is preferred on the upper floors, but full commercial use is acceptable. Tax-exempt uses are prohibited. All construction must be compatible with the historic character of King Drive. Specific development requirements include: • Two or three stories with zero setback from King Drive. • Brick exterior facing King Drive with maximum frontage. • Traditional-style storefront design on the ground floor. • On-site parking sufficient for the proposed use in rear and accessed from the alley only. Parking can be incorporated into the ground floor as long as the garage is not visible from the street. • Any open area facing King Drive must have ornamental fencing and attractive landscaping. Landscaping may be placed inside the fencing and should be at least five feet in depth. • “Green” construction is required. Use of Emerging Business Enterprises (EBE) is required on this project. The Redevelopment Authority’s goal is 21 percent. An EBE agreement with the City is required prior to closing. The City of Milwaukee has several financing tools that may be appropriate for this project. • A Facade Grant and/or Facade Loan may be available from the Department of City Development to help with the storefront construction. • The Retail Investment Fund (RIF) is available for first floor retail use. The RIF grant is determined by the size of the retail space, private investment and job creation, with up to $5,000 per full time job created. This is a reimbursement program where a grantee is reimbursed for pre-approved expenses. Funds cannot be disbursed until all conditions of the grant contract have been fulfilled, including job creation. • Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) — lends money to businesses in conjunction with conventional financing and the owner’s equity. To qualify, the project must include a percentage of owner occupancy and cannot include liquor stores, guns shops, taverns or tattoo parlors. Proposals must be received and time stamped on or before January 24, 2005 at 4:00 P.M. at the 2nd Floor Bid Desk, Department of City Development, 809 North Broadway. Complete information on the RFP is available online at mkedcd.org/realestate/KingDrive/KingDrMain.htm. Contact Dwayne Edwards in the Real Estate Section at: or 414/286-5735 with questions. ~