LA CROSSE, Wis., (January 24, 2024) – The School District of La Crosse is excited to announce the successful sale of the historic Lincoln Middle School building to Commonwealth Development Corporation of America (CDC) and the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development. CDC, a prominent figure in affordable housing development, joined forces with the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development, emphasizing its expertise in revitalizing historic structures while addressing housing needs in the La Crosse community.
The School District assessed proposals based on redevelopment compatibility, contribution to the tax base, price, and overall proposal completeness. Key factors included the proposer’s successful history in redevelopment projects, alignment with community priorities, and preservation of historic architectural elements.
“We are excited to transition the property to a developer who is able to meet our community’s interests and needs through the development of affordable housing in a way that thoughtfully preserves the character of a historic building in the neighborhood,” said Superintendent of School Dr. Aaron Engel. “This project holds immense benefits not only for the neighborhood itself but also for the school district and the broader La Crosse community. It signifies a positive step towards meeting the housing needs of our residents and contributing to the overall well-being and vitality of our community.”
Community engagement events collected input from over 100 participants who prioritized housing, community spaces, businesses, daycare, mobility options, urban agriculture, single-family housing, historic preservation, and better access to quality foods.
Commonwealth Development Corporation of America and the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development envision a redevelopment of the Lincoln property that addresses the urgent need for safe and affordable housing while serving the diverse needs of mixed-income individuals and families. Their commitment to community-focused and sustainable projects aims to preserve the historic nature of the Lincoln Middle School building.
The property was sold for $2.2 million, and the sale is expected to close on June 30, 2025, pending application approval and a financing award from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). The proposed development timeline depends on acquiring a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit award from WHEDA, with construction anticipated to start in early 2026 and completion in the fall of 2026.
In addition to pursuing Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, the development team plans to secure Federal and State Historic Tax Credits, guaranteeing the preservation of the Lincoln property’s historic integrity and offering the possibility of restoring certain areas to their original state.
Commonwealth Development Corporation of America and the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development are committed to ongoing collaboration with the community. Upcoming meetings will be held to ensure that the perspectives of all community members are taken into consideration throughout the development process.
“Collaborating with the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development, Commonwealth expresses our appreciation for the proactive initiative taken by the School District of La Crosse,” said Commonwealth Development Corporation of America Vice President of Development Tyler Sheeran. “Our goal is to ensure that upon completion, the proposed redevelopment of the historic Lincoln Middle School building is a source of pride for everyone involved, contributing positively to the entire community.”
The School District of La Crosse looks forward to witnessing the positive impact of this redevelopment on the neighborhood and the city of La Crosse. The collaboration between the School District, CDC, and the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development reflects a shared commitment to creating inclusive and sustainable communities.