Council agrees to sell trailer park land for senior housing

Deal for South Spring Street property calls for Port to create TIF district

A FORMER TRAILER park site off South Spring Street in Port Washington has been difficult for the city to sell because of high tension power lines overhead and nearby railroad tracks, although now a buyer is interested. Photo by Bill Schanen IV
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Port Washington Common Council agreed to sell the former trailer park property it owns on South Spring Street for a senior housing development during a special meeting earlier this month.

Aldermen unanimously agreed on June 12 to sell the property to Horizon Development, which plans to create affordable housing using tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

To increase its chances of obtaining the needed funding, the firm had asked the city to approve a purchase agreeement even though its plans are not finalized.

Because of that, the purchase agreement  provides numerous opportunities for both the city and Horizon to back out of the deal, officials said.

Among the conditions of the sale are Horizon’s receiving tax credits from WHEDA by March 31, 2019, as well as a $440,000 loan from the HOME Consortium and $600,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, both by Dec. 1.

The agreement also requires the city to annex the property, which is currently in the Town of Port, by Dec. 1, for the Plan Commission to approve the site plan and concept by August and for the city to commit to creating a pay-as-you-go tax incremental financing district for the project by Dec. 1.

In this type of TIF district, the developer, not the city, would pay the upfront cost of development and be repaid a portion of the money through increased taxes on the land.

“The key thing is it’s pay as you go,” Horizon Director of Development Phil Schultz said. “We as develoeprs take 100% of the risk.”

Horizon would pay $280,000 for the 2.4-acre former trailer park land using a promissory note that would be paid by Jan. 1,  2036.

The sale could be completed by Nov. 1, if all goes well, City Attorney Eric Eberhardt said.

The process of applying for and receiving the necessary funding and tax credits is a lengthy one, Schultz said.

If all goes well, he added, they could begin construction in the fall of 2019 and begin renting apartments in early 2020.

“We know there’s a demand,” Schultz said.

The former trailer park land was purchased by the city in 2007 with the intent of redeveloping it. 

But there has been little interest in the parcel, which has high tension power lines  crossing it, railroad tracks just to the east of it and a trailer park to the south.

When the city purchased the land, it also hoped to buy the adjacent trailer park and offer the two parcels for development, but officials could not reach a deal on the neighboring land.


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