La Crosse leaders nearing agreement with developers for north side quality housing project

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – La Crosse city leaders say we’re making progress when it comes to making affordable housing more available.

Earlier this week, the La Crosse Community Development Committee approved for a 65-unit affordable housing complex on 4th Street.

“It feels like we’re getting close,” city council president Barb Janssen said. “But there’s always room for improvement.”

There’s a large space along Lang Drive that has been vacant for years.

“For whatever reasons, things just kind of didn’t develop,” Janssen said.

But now, developers are pitching their proposal to give part of this giant space a purpose.

Janssen says plans call for the development of a housing complex.

“Right now, we’re just at the negotiating table of getting a contract with an agreement,” she said.

It would be called “5th Ward Residences.”

La Crosse planning coordinator Tara Fitzgerald says it is not a city project.

Developer Three Sixty Real Estate Solutions is paying for it, but the city will offer Three Sixty tax increment-financing.

“We are very close if we can close the gap,” Fitzgerald said.

The site would contain mostly apartments at a market rate.

“There are 144 units being proposed in the project,” Fitzgerald said.  Two buildings housing 72 units each.”

Janssen says rent will range from nearly $800 to $1,200, and will include features like trails and a community room.

“So the location is awesome from my perspective,” Janssen said.

The project is costly — totaling $23 million.

But Janssen says current prices for a lot of city housing are pricey too.

“What we keep hearing from the public is, yes, there’s a need for more quality housing and more affordable housing,” she said.

It’s this space on the northside Janssen calls a win-win for future quality housing.

“That’s what people are looking for,” she said.

In addition to apartments, the 5th Ward Residences will also have owner-occupied town homes.

If the development agreement goes through city council for final approval, developers are hoping to break ground on the project this fall.