Belle City Square, formerly the historic Horlick factory, is a 16-acre plot on Racine, Wisconsin’s Northwestern Avenue. The first refurbished building is scheduled to open soon, and its name was formally revealed yesterday.
Who is Developing the 16-Acre Plot?
J. Jeffers & Company is overseeing the development with aid from the City of Racine via a tax incremental finance district along with other loans and grant incentives. Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development’s (WHEDA) offers affordable housing tax credits and Lutheran Social Services also assists the development.
What is a TIF District?
A TIF district — an acronym for tax incremental finance district — is a method for municipalities to interest business. Once a financing district is created, the taxing jurisdictions give the district a base value. The district will be charged at the base rate despite increasing in value over time. Instead of paying the higher value, the TIF district pays the base value and the increased tax revenue funds infrastructure projects.
J. Jeffers & Co. CEO Speaks at Opening
“Today, we celebrate the past and also embrace a beautiful future as we officially name Belle City Square and open our first building on site,” declared Joshua Jeffers, president & CEO of J. Jeffers & Co.
“Many partners came together to envision, redevelop and rejuvenate this property, and we appreciate that partnership and support. Today’s opening is just the beginning.”
Transitioning From Horlick Malted Milk Complex Into Belle City Square
The Horlick Malted Milk Company functioned in Racine between 1873 to 1975 (an impressive 98 years). As of today, the historic Horlick factory is now Belle City Square.
The property was in much need of a face-lift when J. Jeffers & Company bought it in 2018. Nonetheless, the buildings look tremendous.
Milestone Project for J. Jeffers & Company
J. Jeffers & Company’s CEO and President, Joshua Jeffers, refers to the project as, “the best historic rehab” the company has been involved with to date. Belle City Square highlights the history of Racine’s former Horlick manufacturing site. Jeffers continued, saying this is, “just the beginning.”
From Hazard to Haven
The rather-run-down Racine landmark has been given a new purpose that will serve the community well. The same buildings that previously had hazardous fears are now an affordable housing haven for Racine citizens.
“At WHEDA they believe that access to safe, affordable housing is critical to building equity, inclusion and opportunity,” Altoro said.
The Significance of a Name
“Belle City,” is a legendary nickname for the City of Racine, which is exactly why the developer chose it. “The Arabella” apartments are titled in honor of William Horlick’s wife, Arabella.
The Arabella apartments are a charming combination of old and new, displaying the original building’s celebrated qualities. The building houses 60 unique apartment homes on Belle City Square’s southern end.
Approximately 62% of Arabella’s occupancy is filled, which is a remarkable achievement for the City of Racine and its partners. Continue reading about The Arabella
About the Buildings
The architecture of the buildings incorporates modern amenities and urban design, tailored to cater to the needs of low and fixed-income families.
The available units range from studios to three-bedroom apartments, and all of them are equipped with rooftop panels that utilize clean energy. This project has been awarded the gold standard by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
The Future of Belle City Square
Mayor Cory Mason states,” the development is already stunning and will be such a gem as it evolves along this major thoroughfare of Racine.”
Additional areas are under construction currently but are expected to be finished by the spring of 2022. 166 units will begin construction in the fourth quarter of 2021.
“There is a community starting here that will grow and prosper before our eyes at Belle City Square,” according to Hector Colon, the President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Dennis Hansen mentioned, “preservation combined with affordable housing will be an asset to the community.”
The success of Belle City Square is a testament to the power of collaboration. During the event, Mayor Mason acknowledged the various individuals who played a crucial role in bringing this project to life. By providing opportunities for growth and development, Belle City Square is set to bring positive change to the community of Racine and the city as a whole.
Read: Former Horlick Manufacturing Site Welcomes “Belle City Square”
Discover more articles in our blog!