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Building for a Greener Future

Wisconsin boasts many natural treasures—wildlife, lakes, rivers, marshes, waterfalls, caves, billions of trees, rolling hills, and more than 1,700 miles of nature trails. To help support and sustain our environment, WHEDA works with its developer partners to foster green building. Green building is designed to create positive impacts in our environment, help preserve our natural resources, and improve our quality of life. Developers Gerrard Corporation and West Central Wisconsin Community Action Agency Inc. (West CAP), partnered to create an affordable housing project that focuses on the environment’s well-being. With financial support from WHEDA, the 1300 Residences apartments in River Falls was completed in May 2021 to provide much needed affordable workforce housing to the community.

West CAP and Gerrard Corporation thought outside the box to create this 50-unit, solar-based affordable housing development. 1300 Residences includes Smartflower solar tracking, a 580-solar panel rooftop installation, state of the art air-source heat pumps, and energy-efficient insulated glass windows. Through the use of innovative energy technology, 1300 Residences meaningfully addresses the concern of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions up to 300 tons per year, which will result in yearly energy-cost savings of around $74,000 and create cleaner air for the City of River Falls.

1300 Residences offers 1-,2-, and 3-bedroom units available for those people earning between 30% and 80% of the county’s median income. A top priority of this project was creating units for working families; however, there are also 10 one-bedroom units set aside for veterans. The funding for this $12 million project was quite complex as eight different sources supported its creation. WHEDA is honored to have been a major contributor for this project through $3,742,000 Tax Exempt Bond Financing, $325,000 Capital Magnet Funds, $678,992 Tax Incremental Financing, and an annual $820,208 in State and Federal Tax Credits.

Through its unique and innovative solutions, it is by no surprise that 1300 Residences was recognized by multiple organizations for its great work. The Wisconsin Environmental Initiative awarded this project the highest-scoring Green Built Certified affordable housing project in Wisconsin; the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity recognized 1300 Residences in 2020 for its work; and the project was also a winner of the 24th Annual Governor’s Excellence in Community Action Award.

1300 Residences not only works to provide a more sustainable future, but stands as a model for the creation of solar-based affordable living for low- and moderate-income households.

Photo credit to Apartments.com & Peter Kilde, Executive Director of West CAP