By Alex Gary - June 19th 2024



The Beloit City Council Monday night approved giving $3 milllion each to two developers who want to build affordable housing projects on the former site of the YMCA and in the Gateway business district.

Those two projects won out over proposals to build new housing near Beloit Memorial High School and in the downtown area.

Kevin Leavy, Beloit City Council president, said his hope is that all four projects eventually move forward.

“It was a tough choice because all four projects would be great for Beloit,” Leavy said. “I hear all the time, ‘we need more affordable housing.’ We’d like to see a way for all four to be built.”

Monday’s vote was a culmination of a one-time opportunity. Beloit was allowed to collect an additional $6 million through a one-year extension of several Tax Increment Financing districts.

The city received four qualified proposals. Monday, the council voted to approve funding for the Riverside Apartments project, which will be a 55-unit development at 1865 Riverside Drive by Alternative Continuum of Care of Madison, and the Gateway Multi-Family project by The Alexander Company of Madison, which will have 94 units out east of Interstate 90 at 3500 Eagles Ridge Dr.

For the Riverside project, the council liked that the developer was partnering with Lutheran Social Services to target and provide services for people with disabilities, including veterans. Of the 55 units, 46 would be set aside for people or families making low to moderate incomes.

For the Gateway project, the council liked that it was the project that is the most “shovel ready” and that it could potentially serve people working in the Gaetway Business Park. Of the 94 new units, 84 would be set aside for people making low to moderate incomes.

Those two projects won out over a plan by Northernstar Companies of Milwaukee to build 88 town homes at 1642 Sixth Street, near Krueger Park and Beloit Memorial High School, and Hendricks Commercial Properties’ proposal to tear down the building 80 — 100 E. Grand Ave. — the one that partially hangs over the Rock River — and build a 45-unit mixed use building in its place.

Beloit Economic Development Director Drew Pennington said Hendricks and Alexander Company were notified Tuesday that their proposals were not funded so the city hasn’t had any additional discussions.

An executive from Hendricks was at Monday’s meeting and the company already publicly committed to tearing down the 80 — 100 E. Grand Ave. some time this year.

Like much of the United States, the Beloit region has a housing shortage. According to a 2022 housing demand study commissioned by the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp., the area needs 1,250 new housing units, including 400 single-family homes over the next five years to adequately meet the existing demand.

Because demand is so much higher than supply, housing prices have sky-rocketed despite rising mortgage rates. At the end of 2021, according to the Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin, the average home in Rock County sold for $223,024. At the end of 2023, that had soared to $268,101.

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