The project to create housing for veterans in six post-Civil War era buildings at the Milwaukee’s Soldiers Home has been percolating more than three years now, and the $40 million development’s extremely complicated financing package was completed only at the last minute Thursday afternoon.
The financing officially closed at 3:58 on Thursday afternoon, two minutes before the national financial wires shut off, said Joseph Alexander, president of Madison co-developer The Alexander Co. It was a short 20 hours before Alexander presided over Friday’s press conference to celebrate the start of construction, which featured Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.
The closing demonstrates how difficult it was to finance the unique restoration project. Six parties participated, including Alexander Co., and they had a combined 16 attorneys, Alexander said. Participating were investors buying the public tax credits that raised up-front cash for the deal. Co-developer the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee was on the line, as was the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, which provided about $30 million to the financing package.