Contact: Sharyn Wisniewski, County Executive’s office, (608) 267-8823
Bill Perkins, Wisconsin Partnership for Housing, (608) 258-5560 x23
NOTE: A CD Rom with “streetscape” illustrations of the Uplands Project can be obtained by calling Sue Fieber at (608) 258-5560 x22. You can view the illustration at www.co.dane.wi.us / press releases
Mixed Income Housing Project in Sun Prairie Gets Final Go-Ahead
Dane County CDBG Provides Critical Piece of Financing
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Sun Prairie Mayor JoAnn Orfan and the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development today announced that a new, mixed-income housing development on the east side of Sun Prairie is ready for site improvement, having cleared final pre-development hurdles.
The Uplands, a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) of single-family, twin home and townhomes will include 40 rental homes and 103 homes for purchase, with half of all homes affordable to households with incomes at or below 80% of the county median income.
Eighty percent of the Dane County median income is, for example, $54,400 for a family of four, and $38,100 for a single person.
Homes will range from one to four bedrooms, with phase-one sales prices estimated at $106,900 to $212,900 and estimated rents from $500 to $995.
“Increasing the supply of affordable housing is good for families, good for business and good for communities,” said Falk. “It took a real partnership to make this unique project come together. This project incorporates many of our Smart Growth land use goals, and it’s the kind of work we’d like to encourage more developers to take on,” said Falk.
In keeping with TND principles, the development features narrower streets, smaller lots, walking and bicycling trails, and an emphasis on open space. Front porches, along with reduced emphasis on driveways and garage entrances, add to the emphasis on neighbor interaction.
In addition, all homes will by “visitable” by people with physical disabilities, 20% will be fully accessible, and single-level living will be possible in many models.
The Uplands is a first for the City of Sun Prairie, whose new TND zoning process was designed as the project worked its way through the required approvals.
“We have supported this project from the beginning,” said Mayor JoAnn Orfan, noting that affordable housing is a pressing community concern.
Movin’ Out, Inc., and the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Inc. (CAC) are co-sponsors of the Uplands. Movin’ Out will counsel income-qualified buyers, including those who will purchase the homes reserved for low-income people with disabilities. CAC will provide a range of services to residents of the rental homes, and will assist in establishing a home-based childcare business within the development.
According to Wisconsin Partnership Executive Director William C. Perkins, bringing the $21 million deal to construction closing has taken almost three years. Assembling the financing for the project has been the most complicated aspect, Perkins said. In all, 13 funding sources are involved, including federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
“As a nonprofit, we don’t have the net worth of a conventional developer,” Perkins said, “so some of our funding sources had to be more flexible, or had to ask for protection from the additional risk.”
Perkins pointed to the Dane County Housing Development Fund as the single most critical piece of the financing package. In all, the County fund, capitalized by federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars, is pledging $1.265 million to the Uplands—a $400,000 loan toward the land purchase, a $265,000 loan toward costs of the rental project; and $600,000 to stand behind a loan from Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest source of financing for affordable housing.“The
combination of Fannie’s loan and the Dane County loan guarantee really clinched the deal for us,” Perkins said.
The 39-acre site for the Uplands was assembled after negotiations with three landowners, with two of the parcels requiring annexation to the City of Sun Prairie. A 13-acre wetland—an essential part of the project’s emphasis on open space—added a lengthy Department of Natural Resources permitting process to the project schedule.
Other funders participating in the Uplands include the Cremer Foundation, the Dane Fund, the Enterprise Social Investment Corporation, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, First Business Bank, the Housing Partnership Fund, Michigan Capital Fund for Housing, Mutual Savings Bank, the Wisconsin Division of Housing and Intergovernmental Relations, and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA).
Site improvement work is beginning, and construction of the Uplands homes is scheduled to begin in August, with the first homes available near the end of the year.
For more information on home purchases at the Uplands, contact Don Knutson at First Weber (278-4167). For information on down payment assistance, contact Diane Schobert at Movin’ Out (251-4446 x3). For information on rental homes, contact Jen Roth at the Wisconsin Partnership (258-5560 x28).
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