Near West Side Partners
Criteria and Process for Evaluating Development Proposals

Statement of Purpose

The Near West Side Partners (NWSP) Initiative strives to build partnerships and work with developers to assure a range of quality housing options that appeal to potential homebuyers and residents at all income levels, including millennials, recent graduates of Marquette, artists looking for a live/work environment, people looking for a true urban experience, and people in the market for a starter home

The neighborhoods that comprise the Near West Side have 9,786 housing units in 2,330 structures (2014 data).  Approximately 11% of the units are single-family, 20% are duplex and 69% are multi-family.  The neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of single-family and duplex homes are Martin Drive, the Valley/Piggsville and Merrill Park.  There are smaller concentrations of single-family homes on certain blocks in Concordia and Cold Spring Park.

Owner occupancy is a key indicator of neighborhood stability.  From 2008 to 2014, owner occupancy in the NWS neighborhoods dropped from 72% to 65% for single-family homes.  While some neighborhoods enjoy high rates of owner occupancy in single-family housing, such as Martin Drive, Piggsville, Merrill Park and Concordia, all saw drops in owner occupancy between 2008 and 2014.  This is a concern for the NWS because owner occupancy means improved home maintenance, more civic involvement and longer lengths of tenure.  Even modest increases in owner occupancy can help increase property values.  Home ownership increases economic opportunity, contributes to public safety and overall helps to build strong communities.  Increasing owner-occupancy throughout the NWS is an important long-term goal.

 

Principles

Developers looking to partner with NWSP should present proposals that incorporate the following principles:

Promote convenient workforce and/or student housing that meets the needs of Near West Side employees, students and local residents, incorporating a range of price points, unit and housing types, with convenient access to anchor institutions, and commercial corridors.

Foster the use of public transit by proposing housing that will be located within walking distance (within ¼ mile) of bus stops located along frequently used routes that serve NWS.

Encourage pedestrian and bike access by ensuring sidewalks near proposed development are well-lit and wide enough for two to walk, and incorporating bike racks and bike storage into plans.

Encourage livability with a mix of uses by including retail and other amenities that are attractive to NWS employees and students such as grocery stores, coffee shops, and restaurants.

Excellent, quality design and construction that fits into the neighborhood, fosters a sense of community, promotes convenient access to nearby amenities, and is well-maintained. Housing should fit the character of the neighborhood.

Promote sustainability with “green” development and energy efficient construction materials and design features.

Support local economic development through local hiring and apprenticeships during design and construction.

 

Criteria

In evaluating development proposals for the NWS target area, the NWSP Housing Committee will rely heavily (but not exclusively) on the following criteria:

Location

Developers who identify and prioritize the following locations for new development/rehab of single-family housing in the following areas will be given strong consideration (see also attached map from NWSP Strategic Plan):

Single-family, owner-occupied housing

State Street to Wells – build single-family, townhomes or row housing

       Vacant block between 24th and 23rd and State and Kilbourn.

       Between Kilbourn and Wisconsin and 28th and 29th Streets.

       On northeast corner of 25th and State (currently an unused parking lot).

       On 25th to 26th between Wells and Kilbourn.

       Convert 933 N 24th St from a rooming house to rent-to-own townhomes and incorporate adjacent duplexes to the north and the vacant lot on north corner.

North of Harley-Davidson

      Highland to Vliet, South to North, on 35th to 40th.

Multi-family, rental housing

Wisconsin-Clybourn Corridor

       2404 and 2422 W. Clybourn Street

       2440 and 2460 W. Clybourn Street

       Northeast corner of 26th and Clybourn Street

Mixed Use Development (Commercial/Housing)

      Vliet St. Corridor, 35th to 40th

Amenities

Offer bike racks, bike storage, green space (especially by duplexes), and other amenities attractive to near west side employees and residents.

Attainability

Provide housing opportunities at a range of price points appropriate for near west side employees, students, and neighborhood residents. Note: due to the high density of multi-family units in the near west side, priority will be given to owner-occupied versus rental opportunities. 

Excellent Design

Development follows neighborhood design guidelines, fits their setting, complementing and enhancing the existing neighborhood, and promoting a sense of community; further, design will be pedestrian friendly align with other principles of good design.

Parking

Provide off-street parking to address resident needs while fostering walking, biking, and transit use.

Quality Development and Management

High quality development and management team experience with proposed type of development. The following must be provided:

       Plan for quality management and maintenance of development.

       Summary of the owner and/or development team’s track record in selling, leasing and managing development properties.

       If applicable, overview of history with neighborhood and/or tenant relations.

Safety

Prior to submission of a proposal, the developer will meet with representatives of the Near West Side Partners Safety Working team to develop a plan to ensure appropriate safety measures are incorporated into the project. Recommendations will be customized based upon the proposed development. However areas of concern may include physical design and security measures.

Collaborative

Work with the NWSP, the City, community organizations and housing developers to cluster new housing development and redevelopment to advance NWSP Strategic Plan goals, including maximizing the impact of efforts and encouraging increased investment along NWS commercial corridors.

Utilize Local Businesses and Workers

Encourage and support local businesses and workers for construction projects and maintenance of vacant lots. Note: special consideration will be given to any development company interested in the creation of a youth-build program to come to the neighborhood for young people to learn the construction trade.

 

Proposal Submission Process

1.) Interested developers/potential partners should submit a 1-page overview of the proposed development, along with initial specs of the project, to Keith Stanley, Executive Director, Avenues West/Bid #10. Contact Keith Stanley at director@avenueswest.com

2.) If approved upon initial review, the proposal will be forwarded to the Near West Side Partners Housing Committee. Review of proposals by the committee will occur on the second Friday of every month (excluding December). Alderman Bob Baumann will be invited to participate in these review sessions.

3.) Upon review, the Near West Side Partners Housing Committee can:

a.      Reject the proposal.

b.     Invite the developer/potential partner to a meeting for further discussion.

c.      Support and advance the proposal.

d.     Request a delay in reviewing/implementing the proposal.

4.) If the proposal is accepted, please see the benefits below that will be provided to the developer/potential partner.

 

NWSP Project Endorsement

If the Near West Side Partners Housing Committee agrees to support the proposed development, a recommendation will be made to the NWSP Board of Directors to support the project in one or more ways: 

1.) Letter of support: Near West Side Partners provides a letter of support for the project. Support letters can be used for application for financing, zoning, to secure neighborhood support, or other uses. Also, letters may be sent directly to the City Council, Planning Commission, other decision-making bodies as specified by the developer, and/or staff contacts.

2.) Active advocacy: Near West Side Partners actively supports a project by speaking at hearings, neighborhood meetings and/or other public forums; making phone calls; or, attending meetings with the owner, as requested.

3.) Access to area residents and employees: Near West Side Partners helps market a project by including information about it in the NWSP newsletters, and on the NWSP website. Also, individual employers may market endorsed developments through company newsletters, and other means of communication to their workers.

4.) Invest in development, or rehabilitation/renovation:

•       Provide a donation of land or land swap

•       Act as a development partner

•       Provide loan guarantees

•       Assist with securing gap funds in the form of grants, forgivable loans, or investments