Location: Columbia Square. Gateway District
Columbia Square is a $2.5 million mixed use infill development in the Historic North Avenue Gateway District, one of Milwaukee’s oldest central city neighborhoods – a neighborhood in transition, spurred by this project and several others. After years of neglect, the District is experiencing a rebirth through partnerships of local African American entrepreneurs, the Neighborhood Business Improvement District and the City of Milwaukee Department of Community Development. Columbia Square offers 22 units of affordable housing on the upper level and 7,200 sf of street-level office/retail space. The facility is a sister building to Toussaint Square, another affordable housing development on an adjacent site. The project is a significant part of a series of developments that bring quality affordable housing to the area while heralding an emergent Urban District in the heart of the Central City. Housing options include two and three bedroom apartments with design features and finishes of a similar quality to newly built market-rate housing. Two units are fully accessible. Common spaces include covered parking, a spacious lobby, an exercise room and a community room. Columbia Square has been fully occupied since its opening. An important design challenge was to create a building that would rest comfortably within the context of existing North Avenue architecture while giving a contemporary surge of energy to bolster the revitalization of the community. Much of North Avenue’s architectural model is mixed-use (apartments over retail) in two and three-story structures. The design maintains this model. Most funding was obtained through federal tax credits granted on a highly competitive basis by WHEDA (Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority). Evaluation of the applications for funding is rigorous, but due to the proposed design and the track record of the North Avenue Community Development Corporation, the project received WHEDA funding. It also received financing from Tax Increment District #40 and Community Development Block Grant.
Transect Zone(s): T5 center.
Project or Plan's Scale: Block
Features: Affordable/subsidized housing, Mixed uses.
Total built area (in sq. ft.):
Total project cost (in local currency):
Retail area (in sq. ft.): 7200
Office area (in sq. ft.):
Industrial area (in sq. ft.):
Number of hotel units:
Number of residential units (include live/work): 22
Parks & green space (in acres):
Residential types: Mid-rise/loft, Townhouse/rowhouse/maisonette.
Project team designers: Engberg Anderson Design Partnership, Inc.
Project team developers: North Avenue Community Development Corporation
Previous site status:
Starting/Ending date of construction/implementation: -