If all goes according to schedule, residents should be able to start moving into a new mixed-use, mixed-income housing development in downtown Verona this October or November.

The Alexander Company broke ground at the 409 Church Avenue site in early February, the start of a future housing community called the 'Schoolhouse Yards' -- as a nod to the site’s former use -- which the company said in a news release will offer “affordable, workforce housing.”

“This project will provide housing that will allow people who work in Verona to be able to live in Verona,” Mayor Luke Diaz said in the news release. “Furthermore, the project will feature a fantastic two-acre-plus park, which will serve as an excellent community gathering space for all Verona residents.”

The Alexander Company is the developer and will lead the project.

“The Alexander Company is working to deliver a high-quality, affordable, multi-family community to the City of Verona at the site of the former Sugar Creek Elementary School just minutes from downtown,” the news release states.

The collection of five buildings, which range from approximately 19,000 to 25,000 square feet each, are organized around a central green space and clubhouse building.

“With the goal of creating a unique sense of place and vibrant community, while delivering additional much-needed affordable workforce housing, Schoolhouse Yards embraces a robust amenity package and a variety of apartment styles,” the news release states.

The new development will include construction of six buildings, with one being the centralized clubhouse and leasing office, 100 multi-family “affordable” workforce apartments serving households with incomes from 50 percent to 60 percent of area median, 132 market rate units, 68 one-bedroom apartments, 32 two-bedroom apartments, 99 surface parking stalls, 31 attached garage spaces, 23 tandem spaces, and 10 detached garage spaces.

“The redevelopment vision entails the creation of an inspiring, multi-generational, pedestrian-friendly community hub knit into the heart of Hometown, USA,” the news release states. “This lively destination has a “city scene” vibe that draws people in with its cohesive mix of park and cultural facilities, intriguing experiential activities, and a vibrant mix of street-facing shops – all flanked by a blend of multi-family housing.”

The $23.3 million project had several public funding sources including Federal Affordable Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bond financing, and tax incremental financing.

“This was the result of a public, competitive RFP process and we’re excited to be moving forward with our partners Steve Brown Apartments and the City of Verona,” The Alexander Company wrote in its news release. “Local real estate developers The Alexander Company and Steve Brown Apartments were selected to lead this redevelopment effort through a competitive, public proposal process led by the City of Verona.”

Steve Brown Apartments is one of the largest owner-managed providers of student and multi-family rental housing in the Madison area.

There will also be 10,000 square feet of boutique commercial space in a mixed-use building at the corner of Verona Avenue and Marietta Street. The ground-level, neighborhood-serving retail space is intended to establish a gateway to the public park spaces and provide a town square feel.

“A public park and plaza will serve as a public gathering area on the west end of downtown, infusing community pride and activity, drawing Verona residents and visitors of all ages and backgrounds for a variety of public uses and experiences,” the news release states. “This walkable core will be highly visible, with an identity that will strengthen the lively heartbeat of a memorable ‘hometown’ personality for Verona. This redevelopment project will be well connected to the heart of Verona and its downtown, helping to create a vibrant flow of people and activity.”

For more information, visit schoolhouseyards.com.

Reporter Neal Patten can be reached at npatten@wisconsinmediagroup.com

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