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Kaukauna's Downtown Apartment Project Faces Delays Due to Funding Shortage

CEO Khai Intela
Kaukauna, a beautiful city situated along the Fox River, was set to welcome a new housing development in early 2024. However, the Dreamville Kaukauna Apartments project has hit a roadblock due to a lack of...

Dreamville Kaukauna apartments being built at 222 Lawe Street. Thursday, January 18, 2024 in Kaukauna, Wis. Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Kaukauna, a beautiful city situated along the Fox River, was set to welcome a new housing development in early 2024. However, the Dreamville Kaukauna Apartments project has hit a roadblock due to a lack of funds, causing delays in construction and occupancy. This $38 million project, spearheaded by the Hope Housing Foundation, aims to bring environmentally friendly apartments to the riverfront, adding vitality to the downtown area.

Environmentally Friendly Apartments Enhance the Riverfront

The proposed Dreamville Kaukauna Apartments will include two five-story, 89-unit apartments.

The Dreamville Kaukauna Apartments project planned to introduce 178 workforce and market-rate units to downtown Kaukauna. Initially, the development aimed for 180 units spread across two five-story buildings. These apartments would consist of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts, each equipped with a balcony and parking garages. Moreover, the developers have committed to ensuring that these apartments become the most environmentally friendly buildings in the state and among the top 1% of multi-family buildings in the country.

Financing and Supply Chain Challenges Set Construction Back

Mayor Tony Penterman expressed the project's delay, stating that they anticipate getting things back on track in February for a spring start. The primary cause of this setback is the developer's struggle to secure the necessary funds to initiate construction. Consolidated Construction Co., Inc., the Appleton-based contractor, broke ground on the project in November and commenced environmental remediation work on the lot, but encountered financing issues soon after. The increasing building costs and interest rates have worsened the situation, further contributing to the delays.

A History of Obstacles for the Lot's Redevelopment

This is not the first time this lot has faced obstacles in its redevelopment journey. Initially, the city officials approved a $30 million hotel and apartment complex for the 3.1-acre vacant lot in August 2021. The project received support from tax increment financing (TIF), which included incentives and city-backed loans. However, due to supply chain issues and funding shortages, the original developer, Harvest Development, withdrew from both projects. In the following summer, Hope Housing Foundation stepped in, abandoning the hotel plan and incorporating an additional apartment complex. The TIF incentives were consequently transferred to Hope Housing Foundation.

While the project faces current challenges, the city remains hopeful that the Dreamville Kaukauna Apartments will eventually become a reality. The goal is to revitalize the downtown area, attracting residents and contributing to the city's growth. As spring approaches, the city eagerly awaits the commencement of construction, bringing these environmentally friendly apartments one step closer to completion.

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