Milwaukee Spent HOW MUCH on a New Housing Project?


This week, I read with interest an article about Westlawn, a City of Milwaukee housing project that was torn down an rebuilt. And a little bit of research led to an astounding discovery.

In recent years, an idea was hatched to tear down an old housing project built in the 1950s, and replace it with new apartments and townhomes that would be better for residents. The first phase of the project cost $88 million. But that’s not the best part. The best part is that for this $88 million, the city built 250 units. That’s a construction cost of $352,000 per unit.

And the city paid to relocate 320 families during construction, paying their moving costs and the cost of the apartments they rented while waiting to move back to Westlawn.

A second phase to this project is estimated to cost $120 million, with 950 total units when the project is done. That’s a whopping total of $218,947 per housing unit built when all is said and done.

In case you’re wondering how this compares to normal building costs for apartments, this site estimates an average cost to build new apartments at $65,000 to $86,000 per unit. This investor said he built apartments for $100,000 per unit. These are obviously not authoritative sources, but they at least give us a frame of reference.

As usual, we’ve got government overpaying for everything they buy, not caring one bit how they spend taxpayer money.

2 thoughts on “Milwaukee Spent HOW MUCH on a New Housing Project?

  1. Mike C

    Your article seems to be a little bit slanted against the city of Milwaukee. You didn’t mention that the $88MM was used for demolition, new roads, flood control and other general areal improvements. PNC bank is a large investor.

    This appears to be money well spent to try and revitalize and improve an old housing project area.

  2. Tracy Coenen

    It’s simply math, along with my opinion on whether the spending was outrageous. Give me facts: what amount was spent on each of the things you mentioned?

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