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April 4, 2017Press Release

Michael Best is Lead Real Estate Firm in Historic Milwaukee Redevelopment Project

MILWAUKEE (April 4, 2017) – Michael Best is pleased to announce the groundbreaking of the redevelopment of the Historic Garfield Campus, a project the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group was deeply involved in. The Historic Garfield Campus will be located in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville Neighborhood and will include the Historic Garfield Apartments and The Griot mixed-use commercial development, which will serve as the new home for America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM), a well-regarded cultural institution in the city.

Danielle Bergner, the Milwaukee office managing partner and co-chair of the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group, was the lead attorney on the project and donated a significant number of pro bono hours to this effort.

Bergner and her team addressed all aspects of the Historic Garfield transaction, from conception to closing, including site acquisition, zoning and entitlements, environmental, tax-credit syndication, construction, and financing. The project required a complex financing structure involving Historic Tax Credits, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Tax Incremental Financing, funding through the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program, and federal HOME Program funding.

The $17.3 million project will help transform the Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District, connecting a currently vacant city block to Milwaukee’s downtown growth. The project includes 71 apartment units and 8,000 square feet of commercial space, which will be home to ABHM, which had previously closed in 2008 due to financial hardships.

“I’m thrilled to have been involved in this project,” Bergner said. “Not only will it be great to see one of Milwaukee’s most profound cultural institutions reopen its doors, but the project itself will bring a plethora of construction, property management, and museum jobs to the city, as well as offer more than 40 city residents on-the-job training through the great partnership with Employ Milwaukee and Northcott Neighborhood House. This is a great step forward for the community, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

“As a former board member for the museum, it strikes a special note for me to see this project coming to realization,” said Denise Greathouse, a partner at Michael Best. “The important legacy that this museum stands for is at the cornerstone of our community and our country. I’m glad to see it get the attention it rightfully deserves.”

Michael Best represented the development team, a partnership between Maures Development Group and J.Jeffers & Co. Other project partners included WHEDA, the City of Milwaukee, WEDC, Forward Community Investments, Employ Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools, and the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation.

The groundbreaking celebration was held on Tuesday, April 4th behind the Garfield School building (2215 N. 4th Street) from 11:00am-1:00pm. The program featured Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderwoman Milele Coggs, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and WHEDA Director Wyman Winston, among others. The pictures provided encapsulate the tireless efforts of this development and what it will mean to the community.

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