Grand Opening of the Franklin School Apartments

The year-long project marks substantial completion and occupancy.

JUNE 7, 2016 – RICE LAKE, WI – Impact Seven invites the Rice Lake public to a grand opening ceremony for the Franklin School Apartments. The event will take place Monday, June 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and will include formal remarks and unit tours. Speakers will include representatives from Impact Seven, the City of Rice Lake, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)National Equity Fund and the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Once a vacant school campus, Franklin School Apartments is a new rental community providing 20 affordable apartments and townhomes for families on Rice Lake’s main commercial corridor. With Impact Seven at the helm of development, construction was complete in April 2016 and is now 90% occupied.  Sikes-Abernathie Architects and general contractor, Dave Cecil Builders, Inc. lead the design and construction teams.

“Developments this complex are sometimes difficult to keep on schedule, and we are very pleased the team delivered the project on time and budget,” says Kristine Giornalista, Impact Seven’s Vice President of Real Estate Development. “More importantly, we are excited that 20 more units of quality, affordable rental homes are available in the Rice Lake community.”

The Rice Lake School Board originally constructed the building in 1936 as a six-room primary school. After more than eight decades of service, the Rice Lake School Board determined the building could no longer support modern educational needs and vacated the building. In 2013, Impact Seven proposed an adaptive reuse to safeguard the landmark and respond to the area’s housing demand. Construction began in summer 2015 to convert the school building into 12 loft-style apartments and add 8 new townhomes.

Both renovated and newly constructed buildings follow Wisconsin Green-Built Homes criteria for sustainable construction. Sustainable practices and features include enhanced air sealing, low VOC products and Energy-Star rated windows. All units feature Energy-Star rated products including appliances, light fixtures and bath fans with timers, 95% efficient furnaces and high efficiency central air conditioners (SEER 14). The historic apartments provide either one or two bedrooms with an open design with high, exposed ceilings and design elements such as art niches and built-in shelving. The townhomes are designed to accommodate larger families with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, ground level exterior entrances and a private garage. The development provides numerous common amenities such a multi-purpose community room in the former gymnasium, on-site laundry, school-grade playground equipment and covered parking. All units are set aside for a mix of households, including those earning at or below 30%, 50% or 60% of the County Median Income (CMI). Rents are structured to be affordable to families at those incomes levels.

The project was made possible by significant public investment, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, federal historic tax credits, state historic tax credits jointly administered by the Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, HOME funds administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration, Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, and a NeighborWorks America capital grant. Bremer Bank provided both construction and permanent financing.

“We’re honored to share in the success of this development with the Rice Lake community, our development partners, and the many special guests that will join us for the grand opening celebration,” says Brett Gerber, Impact Seven CEO. “The event will recognize a new and exciting chapter in the history of the Franklin School.”

The grand opening will take place inside the Franklin School Apartments’ community room, formerly the gymnasium. Formal remarks begin at 10:30 a.m., and tours of the property are offered until 12:00 p.m.

Impact Seven is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that was established in 1970 in rural northwestern Wisconsin. It builds capacity in underserved communities throughout the state and beyond, and provides innovative, socially-motivated investments and services. Impact Seven’s commercial and residential real estate projects revitalize distressed communities through cross-sector partnerships and local involvement.

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