Tried and Truax: Truax Park Redevelopment
Published: May 3, 2012
Tags: Community Development Authority, Dimension IV–Madison LLC, Jim Gersich, Madison, Madison Community Development Authority, McGann Construction Inc., Natalie Erdman, Truax Park, Truax Park Apartments, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
Redevelopment team adjusts to tight budget
The challenges began for the Truax Park Redevelopment in Madison long before contractors walked onto the site.
Finding the financing was the first major obstacle in transforming the three-story structures, built in 1948, into modern, accessible apartments.
“It’s harder to finance low-rent housing, and it was a lot of extra work,” said Natalie Erdman, executive director of the Community Development Authority in Madison. “But we were able at the end to meet our goal of providing high-quality apartments for our residents, so it was worth all the extra effort,”
The plan to rehab the Truax Park Apartments, which was originally used as U.S. Army housing before becoming public housing, began in 2009 when Madison’s Community Development Authority applied for and received $14 million in federal, low-income housing tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.
But as the proposal to rehab 71 apartments in six buildings went through the approval process, some investors sought changes that almost derailed the entire project.
“We were eventually able to get it through the approval process, but it took a year and a half after the first allocation before we could move ahead,” Erdman said. “Dimension Development was really key to helping us get this done.”
Once financing was secure, Madison-based McGann Construction Inc. followed the design put together by Dimension IV–Madison LLC. Architect Jim Gersich said improving accessibility was a goal of the project.
Before the remodel, residents either had to leave the building or use the basement to get from apartments on one side to those on the other.
“There wasn’t a central corridor,” Gersich said, “and it became clear we needed to add on so we could make every unit accessible.”
When the project was complete, the small, 610-square-foot apartments morphed into 850-square-foot spaces with in-unit washers and dryers. That let the project team turn basement space into a community area with a computer room, fitness center and general gathering area.
“To make it work, we had to flip the building around and make the front the back and the back the front,” Gersich said.
“With everything we did, it was essential we stay on budget, and we were able to do that.”
— MaryBeth Matzek