November 11, 2022

Que El-Amin – Building a New Community in Milwaukee Brick by Brick

Partner Highlight

Man standing outside building exterior

Thanks to the work of one of FCI’s Emerging Developers, 2023 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for Milwaukee’s North Side neighborhoods and residents.

Led by FCI Emerging Developer and principal at Scott Crawford Inc., Que El-Amin, the former Briggs & Stratton industrial complex is officially under construction. When finished, the massive complex will become the largest privately-owned affordable housing development in the state of Wisconsin. The completion of this $66 million project, currently slated for this March, will mark the first time in 40 years that this enormous swath of previously unoccupied property is put to valuable use.

Good Things Come to Those Who Work

After five years of careful planning and tenacious fundraising, El-Amin and his multi-firm team, composed of Milwaukee-based mixed-use real estate development firm Scott Crawford and Minnesota-based development firm Roers Companies in partnership with Continuum Architects, finally broke ground in June of 2021.

Together, they are working to create what will become “The Community Within the Corridor.” Aptly named for its location within Milwaukee’s 30th Street Industrial Corridor, the renovated housing development will deliver a much-needed facelift to one of the region’s most overlooked areas.

More Than Somewhere to Sleep

After suffering from a marked increase of blighted properties in recent years, this new neighborhood center will serve as a welcome jolt of energy for Milwaukee’s North Side, as a whole. With plans to include a staggering 197 apartment units totaling 392 individual bedrooms, as well as 35,000 square feet of commercial space, and 25,000 square feet of recreational space, The Community Within the Corridor (CWC) will deliver so much more than just affordable places for people to sleep

This trailblazing project will feature a “creative corridor” for local artists to display their work, a dedicated community service facility, laundromat, dog park, full-scale health club, athletic courts for basketball, futsal, and volleyball, and a daycare for up to 200 children. Simply stated, the CWC will deliver well beyond the traditional expectations of most affordable housing complexes. As its name suggests, this new development will work to support its community’s well-being at every opportunity.

Yet, as El-Amin affirmed in a recent interview, the primary mission behind the development is maintaining affordability for its residents. “Meaning,” El-Amin elaborated, “you should be able to afford it if you have a job. No matter if that’s a low-paying job or a high-paying job.”

No Place Like Home

Having grown up in Milwaukee, El-Amin is particularly aware of how CWC will positively impact this historically underdeveloped neighborhood. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, El-Amin began his real estate career in 2007 as the cofounder of Scott Crawford, but he didn’t become active in the affordable housing industry until he participated in the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program in 2015.

It was through his participation in ACRE that El-Amin became eligible for FCI’s Emerging Developer Loan Program, a program which actively seeks to reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities in Wisconsin by growing the financial capacity of emerging developers to further develop real estate projects and transform neighborhoods across the state.

A perfect fit for El-Amin, becoming an FCI Emerging Developer reinforced his belief in the power that affordable housing has to impact the stability of a region. “When I found out there was a way to assist in that effort and earn a living, I quickly started down that path, El-Amin told the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). And one of his biggest dreams for his home state is to be known one day as “the best place to live in the world!”

It’s clear that CWC is just one more piece of the puzzle needed to make this dream a reality. And it was a monumental day for all involved when the first CWC lease was signed in July 2022. Keep an eye out for more updates on this exciting project and El-Amin’s work across Wisconsin.

If you’re interested in learning more about FCI’s Emerging Developer Program, you can find more information here on our website.

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