The city's redevelopment authority is still searching for a developer to build six, single-family homes in the Wilson Heights neighborhood.
The outreach is part of the ongoing Wilson Park Development Project, which was created in 2008 to address the blighting influence of 60 contiguous four-unit rental apartments and reduce residential density. The city has acquired and razed 23 of the 60 apartment buildings.
The long-term goal of the development project is to replace the rental units with the construction of owner-occupied, single-family homes to achieve a balance of renters and owners in the neighborhood.
“Rental housing is good if you have a balance with home ownership,” said Zohrab Khaligian, a city redevelopment specialist for Community Development and Inspections. "The success we’ve had with building single-family homes in the Columbus and Lincoln neighborhoods proved that. Not only did the homeowners improve the neighborhood, but the landlords started improving their property."
A vacant city parcel, located just north of 50th Street on 37th Avenue and 38th Avenue, is the site targeted for the current project.
The parcel, divisible into six 65-foot by 129 1/2-foot lots, was the site of a former church used as an outreach center by the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha. It was acquired and razed by the city when the BGCK relocated to its new facility at 1330 52nd St. in 2011.
City officials sent out a request for proposals to over a dozen area builders in May and did not receive a single response, according to city records. A followup generated feedback from seven of the builders contacted. Many of them deemed the project unprofitable, citing high overhead and poor location. Others said they were simply too busy to take on additional projects.
Liberty Builders and Trinity Home Builders, both of Kenosha, said they would consider the project. The city has requested for them to submit proposals by Aug. 31.
The developer is expected to acquire the project site and begin construction in spring 2020.