Developers picked to build 45 homes for Milwaukee childcare workers

Three local developers were selected to build 45 homes that are affordable for Milwaukee childcare workers. But the project, which previously planned to build 50 houses, has been scaled back slightly due to rising construction costs.

The developers are Milwaukee-based real estate development firm Envision Growth, Turner Community Partners and the Milwaukee nonprofit group VIA Community Development Corp., according to a recent announcement. The first home is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

The project, a collaboration between Milwaukee’s Community Development Alliance (CDA) and the Local Initiatives Support Corp. Milwaukee (LISC Milwaukee), is an early initiative in a larger local effort to build 100 affordable homes annuallyeventually totaling 3,000 homes — on vacant city-owned lots in Milwaukee, and sell them for around $100,000 to Black and Latino families making around $12 to $24 per hour.

Although rising construction costs necessitate reducing the number of homes in the first phase of the home-building program for childcare workers, the CDA ultimately still plans to build 100 homes per year, CDA press contact Becky Dubin Jenkins said in an email.

The 45 homes for Milwaukee childcare workers will be funded by $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act money through a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Each house is slated to have three bedrooms and one bathroom.

The houses will be built within walking distance of five Milwaukee early childhood education centers.

NwabuzorOby03

Obiageli “Oby” Nwabuzor, Envision Growth LLC

SCOTT PAULUS

Envision Growth, led by former Milwaukee Business Journal 40 Under 40 winner Oby Nwabuzor, will build nine homes near the Malaika Early Learning Center and nine near the COA Youth & Family Center for a total of 18 houses. The firm will work with Milwaukee’s KPH Construction on the project.

VIA CDC will build 18 houses, with nine near the United Community Center’s early childhood education center and nine near United Methodist Children’s Services of Wisconsin.

Turner Community Partners is led by Keith Turner, an emerging real estate developer in the Milwaukee area. The group will build nine homes near the main campus of Milwaukee’s Next Door Foundation Early Childhood Education.

Crystasany Turner, an educational researcher and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Keith’s wife, is working on the project from a community engagement and social equity perspective.

“I do a lot of work within the field of early childhood education and looking at the different ways that different policies and practices have affected Black and Brown community members,” Crystasany said. “This project … was the perfect marriage of our two passions.”

Keith has previously done local real estate work through Turner Investment Group, a holding company for his portfolio of rental housing. He started Turner Community Partners last year to focus on socially responsible and community-focused projects.

“I can focus on now trying to figure out how to do triple-bottom-line (investing),” Keith said. “It isn’t just profit-driven, it’s community-driven.”

Keith and Nwabuzor are both graduates of Milwaukee’s Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program, which seeks to diversify the industry in order to help to impact disinvested communities through real estate development.

Keith Turner

Keith Turner, Turner Community Partners

Kenny Yoo/MBJ

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