Innovative Project Aims to Combat Housing Insecurity for Students

August 17, 2021

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Area Technical College and Developer J. Jeffers & Co., along with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and the City of Milwaukee today officially opened the Westown Green student apartment building in downtown Milwaukee,  925 N. Old World 3rd St.. The $29.1 million affordable student housing project will house 195 students at the former home of the historic Milwaukee Journal Sentinel property, originally constructed in 1962.

The innovative project aims to combat housing insecurity for MATC students, more than 10,000 of whom had incomes low enough to be eligible for financial aid in the last academic year. 

“We’ve heard directly from our students about the need for adequate housing in order to provide them with stability to graduate, and to pursue careers and additional educational opportunities,” said MATC President Dr. Vicki J. Martin. “We are honored to partner with J. Jeffers & Co. to help make that happen, and we are thrilled to welcome many of our students to this new home at a lower than market rate.”

Jeffers & Co. applied for and received federal and state historic preservation tax credits to help cover the cost of rehabilitating the building that will have fixed rental rates below market by up to 20 percent.

“We understand that costs for downtown Milwaukee student housing and apartments are unattainable for many who are diligently pursuing post-secondary education,” said Josh Jeffers, founder and CEO of J. Jeffers & Co. “Thanks to historic tax credits, we could supplement construction costs and offer high-quality rental housing at a discount, providing an affordable option to the MATC student body and other Milwaukee students.”

Westown Green offers four-bedroom, two-bathroom units as well as two-bedroom and studio apartments. The complex features many amenities, including quiet and active study lounges, a club room, fitness center, computer lab, underground parking and more.

The project broke ground in November 2020. Financing for the project was provided by U.S. Bank, WHEDA and Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust, with support from the Milwaukee Bucks and the City of Milwaukee.

“The addition of affordable housing downtown for MATC students is important, and that’s a key reason the City of Milwaukee chose to support this project,” Mayor Tom Barrett said. “The City’s participation also means qualified small businesses and residents have had a bigger role in the construction work.  We can all be proud of the economic impact, the energy and activity Westown Green brings to this part of the city.” 

 The building is being managed by BMOC, Inc., Wisconsin’s largest student housing management company. Heritage Consulting Group served as the historic development consultant. Eppstein Uhen Architects was the architect for the project and Cross Management Services of Milwaukee was also a development consultant. CG Schmidt was the construction manager. 

About Milwaukee Area Technical College

Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 170 academic programs; and transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For more information, visit www.matc.edu

About J. Jeffers & Co. 

J. Jeffers & Co. embraces real estate development as a powerful vehicle for enhancing communities and creating value for investors and the communities they serve. Its renowned projects include the award-winning restoration of Milwaukee’s historic Mitchell and Mackie Buildings into a mixed-use residential, special event, office, and retail complex; new construction of the 11-story office tower known as the Huron Building at Milwaukee’s Clybourn and Broadway Streets; and the Historic Garfield Apartments and The Griot Apartments in Milwaukee. For more information, visit www.jjeffers.com.

For information on renting an apartment at Westown Green, call 414-296-2441 or email westowngreen@bmocinc.com.

Media Contacts:

Contact Katie Whitlock, Laughlin Constable, 414-305-5927, kwhitlock@laughlin.com 

or Ginny Gnadt, MATC public relations coordinator, 414-467-7221, gnadtv@matc.edu