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Mayday looming for vacant Waukesha YWCA building

By Keith Barber

Redevelop YWCA Property

Demolition of the vacant YWCA building, 306 N. West Ave., Waukesha, is set for May 13.

Bidding was completed on March 19, with a contract award to Earth Construction LLC of Orfordville in the amount of $147,400.00. Bidding ranged from Earth Construction’s low bid to $428,800 submitted by Henry R. Marohl Inc. of Wauwatosa.

The building sat empty for several years, and the city recently took steps to purchase the structure and adjoining 2.08-acre site for redevelopment potential.

Federal stimulus grant money was used in acquiring the property.

The city’s Community Development Department has determined the site will be used for housing developments. Plotting for three duplexes and eight single-family homes is under way. The lots will be sold to developers for one dollar each, and homes constructed on the parcels will have price caps.

Four of the lots will have restricted income clauses, allowing lower-income families to purchase homes. There may be multiple developers involved in this project.

The tentative application due date is July 19, and the city will release the Request for Developer Applications soon. Information will be available on the city’s website. All construction will be completed within 24 months after lot sales.

Keith Barber is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (414) 225-1821.


  1. I wish I could get a straight answer out of the city in regards to this development. Last spring the mayor and city officials had an open meeting which was held at the YWCA about the plans. We were told “workforce development housing units”. We asked what exactly they meant by workforce housing. “Do you mean low income?” We were told the units would not be government subsidized housing, and would be 16 owner occupied single family homes, not sold for less than $190,000, with 2- 2 unit condominiums and were to be targeted towards “young professionals, doctors and lawyers, just out of college” (quote Mayor Nelson). Then I read in the Freeman news paper that there will be 2 – 2 unit duplexes to be sold at $125,000 each! Duplex buildings worth $125,000 each to me would mean low income rent duplexes. I contacted Ald Roger Patton and was told that he attended a meeting recently and that was never a mention in the meeting about this and as far as he knew the plans did not change from the May 2009 public meeting held at the YWCA ,and that the reporter must have been mis-informed. I have not been able to find any recent planning information on the city website in regards to this. Now you are reporting 3 duplexes with 8 low income homes!! So which is it? 16 homes or 8 homes? What is the cap on the price of the homes? Are theses condos or duplexes? I live right across the street from this subdivision and have not received any information from the city as to the change of plans. I will be contacting my alderman yet again and hopefully will be able to get an answer. The area where this so-called subdivision is being built is already surrounded by low-rent duplexes with “rent signs” and I cannot understand why the city would want to build more. My understanding is the city wants to get rid of blighted areas, how is building low income homes and low rent duplexes that pretty much attract blight taking care of this problem?

  2. If you click on the link above for the city of Waukesha or go here:

    Then click on “bids contracts and official notices” , then “community devolopment” it will lead you to the proposal and the preliminary plat.

    The proposal states: “The City of Waukesha is only interested in single-family and limited two-family owner occupied development on this site. The City of Waukesha has platted the property for 8 single-family lots and 3 two-family lots.” “The City will convey lots to the winning builder/purchaser for $1 per lot. In return the winning builders/purchasers agree to sell the single-family properties, once developed, for no more than $208,000 and no more than $125,000 for the two family units or reside in the unit. The City must satisfy a requirement that some of the homes be sold to individuals that meet certain income requirements. Not all of the buyers must meet these income requirements but the final number of homes to be sold at these levels is still being determined by the State of Wisconsin. This information will be forwarded to interested parties once finalized. The income levels are:

    Below 50% of the area median income level (approx. $35,000 for a family of 4),

    Between 50% and 80% of the area median income level (approx. $35,000 to $56,660 for a family of 4),

    Between 80% and 120% of the area median income level (approx. $56,600 to $84,800 from a family of four).”

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