Developer proposes second housing complex in Superior
The developer of a new 50-unit senior housing complex under construction in Superior is floating the idea of another development in the city. This time, the 30- to 36-unit multifamily homes proposed would be constructed to house working families....
The developer of a new 50-unit senior housing complex under construction in Superior is floating the idea of another development in the city.
This time, the 30- to 36-unit multifamily homes proposed would be constructed to house working families.
The proposed site for the new units would be in the 5200-5300 blocks of Hammond Avenue, on city-owned land in south Superior.
“We are here very, very preliminarily,” Jason Serck, the city’s director of economic development, port and planning, said during a meeting with residents living in the vicinity of the proposed development.
Serck said the meeting was held at the behest of councilors representing the area - Dan Olson and Warren Bender.
So far, Serck said, there has been no discussion of concepts or zoning, and the goal was to introduce the idea to the neighborhood.
Gerrard Corp., which has been in business for 60 years and has done business in nine states mainly in the Midwest, is building Grand Central Plaza at North 13th Street and Weeks Avenue. The 50-unit senior housing complex already has more than 150 people on the waiting list.
“That tells me you have a tremendous, tremendous need for housing,” said Paul Gerrard, the developer.
This time, however, the goal is to create a multifamily housing available for working families.
Gerrard Corp. has developed a broad spectrum of real estate, including high-end student housing, single-family homes, condominiums, commercial and retail and buildings that blend commercial and housing.
The company recently won an award for a development in Rochester, Minn. That created retail space, a grocery store and housing. Gerrard said the goal in Superior is to build a complex similar to one built in the wealthiest part of Hudson, Wis., adjacent to homes valued between $600,000 and $700,000.
The site chosen for the proposed development offers several advantages, including having the infrastructure needed for the development, and it creates a natural buffer between the commercial airport and single family homes in the neighborhood, and it’s in a census tract that allows Gerrard Corp. opportunities to better finance the project.
Gerrard said while the plan is to open the units for general occupancy, he suspects the majority of the units would be rented to seniors based on the waiting list for the Grand Central Plaza. The plan includes on-site management and a community room for tenants.
However, the proposal has raised concerns for neighbors.
Area resident Sheri Yeazle questioned whether roads would have to be widened or whether local residents would have to have sidewalks to accommodate the new development. There are none there now.
Yeazle said when she moved into the neighborhood 28 years ago, she did so because it was peaceful, like living in the country in south Superior. She’s concerned about the increased traffic and loss of privacy that would come from having 30 to 36 new housing units in the area.
It was the number of units proposed - and the increase in traffic that was of concern to many.
However, property values were of concern to some as well. A real estate agent estimated a loss of values of 25 percent.
“Change is hard to accept,” Olson said. “But when we’re looking at a facility where you’re going to mix seniors, the ability to rent an apartment. I don’t think that’s a real good mix.”
He said some of the details the city is going to have to think about are the potential development of Kestrel Aircraft Co., the cost of putting in new roads, infringing on single-family homes. He said there is also the potential for Enbridge or Calumet to expand in the future.
“When we’re looking at a project this big involving this many people, we need to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, Olson said. “Unfortunately, I haven’t heard one person in support of this,” Olson added. “We really need to go back to the drawing board.”
However, Gerrard said the company is in the very preliminary stages of exploring the development.
While residents agreed senior housing in the area would be more desirable than general occupancy, the concern about the number of units remained.
Serck was skeptical the project will get off the ground because of the neighborhood’s reaction to the proposal, and that’s not good for the city as a whole, he said. Part of the proposal requires the sale of city-owned land and a zoning change would be needed, which requires council approval.
“We’re falling behind in housing development,” Serck said. “Neighborhoods are going to have to step up.”