Brick-by-brick: revitalizing Martin Luther King Drive

October 21, 2013

By: Raina J. Johnson
Special to the Milwaukee Times20131011_113653

Since 2001, the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation (MLK-EDC) has received allocations of more than $25.3-million in Affordable Housing tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) to either develop or co-develop the King Drive Commons Development located in the 2700 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.
Other partners in this historic neighborhood rehabilitation effort include Impact Seven, City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin Development, National Equity Fund, Miller Architectural Group and Universal Construction Solutions. “We certainly appreciate all the support we’ve been given, not only with King Drive Commons, but other developments as well,” said Welford Sanders, Executive Director of MLK-EDC.
Phase I, begun in 2002 and completed in 2005, was $3.6 million; Phase II completed in 2008 was a $5.8 million project; Phase III, completed in 2010 was $5.5 million. The first three phases of King Drive Commons Development had Wisconsin Redevelopment as a consultant.
The entire King Drive Commons Development space has dedicated commercial and residential opportunities; the new developments in the area include 107 affordable housing units, space for urban farming, an artist gallery; and a Business Center to provide below market rents affordable for small business start-ups, such as the Growing Power Café and Market, managed by Will Allen. Growing Power is an internationally recognized urban agriculture organization that provides safe, affordable and healthy foods to communities.
On October 11, 2013, the grand opening was held for the fourth phase of the King Drive Commons Development, which is the largest project to date for the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation and co-developer and property manager Impact Seven. The $10.4 million 66,000 square-feet King Drive Commons IV (KDC IV) located at 2705 N. Martin Luther King Drive.
The grand opening of the 41 new and renovated units includes single family homes, duplexes, townhomes and historic apartments; each unit will have Energy Star applications. This opening also included the unveiling of the newest Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sculpture created by renowned artist Zenos Frudakis in the King Drive Commons Freedom Garden, adjoining the community room. King Drive Commons IV will also feature a fitness center, secure access and central air conditioning. Rent will range from $660 – $725, and qualified applicants must meet income requirements.
To learn more about the King Drive Commons IV application process, contact Impact Seven at their Almena Office (800-685-9353).


The King sculpture was unveiled by (from left) WHEDA executive director
Wyman Winston; Impact Seven President Brett Gerber; MLK-EDC Executive
Director Welford Sanders; Sculptor Zenos Frudakis, and Milwaukee Mayor
Tom Barrett.