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MSP fits more housing into New Berlin City Center plans

Nov. 12, 2012

New Berlin - With 102 units of controversial lower-income housing either finished or under construction in the New Berlin City Center, its developer MSP Real Estate is back with another proposal.

This time, MSP plans to build 75 additional units, of which 15 would be lower-income housing, at 14900 W. Library Lane, across the street from the current development. The city's Plan Commission could consider those plans as early as Dec. 3.

A second phase

The proposal, which MSP is calling phase two of its Deer Creek development, ran into a glitch initially. The city had planned to extend Deer Creek Parkway north through the City Center to connect with National Avenue. That would have significantly affected MSP's plans.

However, aldermen didn't want to pursue the road plan, said Greg Kessler, director of community development. For various reasons, the city has not put through other roads that also were originally planned.

With Plan Commission approval, the newest project could be under construction in spring, Kessler said.

Tenants are already moving into two of the recently completed 34-unit lower-income buildings. A third is under construction. The project also includes a 34-unit senior citizen building, also under construction.

Original controversy

MSP's original much-larger workforce development proposal triggered opposition that led to two lawsuits. Opponents said workforce housing is counter to the original vision for the City Center, which they said was for upscale shops and housing.

The federal Department of Justice and MSP filed separate lawsuits alleging the city violated federal fair housing laws. The city settled the DOJ lawsuit and withdrew its opposition to the workforce housing.

- Jane Ford-Stewart

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