Project Description

Honey Creek Apartments

Wisconsin Lutheran High School (WLHS) was in need of updated housing as their study body grew, specifically their international students who live on campus throughout the school year. WLHS wanted their school to be a place international students could call their home-away-from-home. To do that effectively, they knew they had to renovate and recreate a space.

 

Location

Milwaukee, WI

Architect

Tredo Group, LLC

Completion Date

The Need

WLHS’ main focus was to continue the upward trajectory towards a positive future for their students and their community. In hopes of better integrating their international student body to the rest of the school, a key feature of the build was to keep the new dorms as close to campus as possible. The dorms that previously housed the international students were in the perfect location, but were dated and showed the wear of time and former students.

The Challenge

WLHS was faced with a debt of about $1.5M, had very little wiggle room to expand or renovate, and had several outdated facilities that were too expensive to refurbish, but their locations were too ideal to abandon.

The existing dorms acted as the major barrier for the success of the build. After weighing all of their options, they found that each solution would require a large investment that they were not equipped to take on alone. It was clear that WLHS needed a team that would pay close attention to their specific needs and would work with them to find the best and most cost-effective solutions.

The Solution

The Catalyst team became involved in the funding stages of the project. Partnered with Stewardship Innovations, we sourced investors that believed in WLHS’ vision and were looking for a long-term relationship.

The most cost-effective solution was to demolish the existing dorms and re-build directly on that land. This not only trimmed down the costs of the project, but also allowed students to maintain their close proximity to the cultural hub of Milwaukee and the rest of the WLHS campus. 

Committed to not only their students, WLHS worked to incorporate solutions for their community outside of their student body. With the help of the investors, WLHS was able to completely pay off their debt and shift to an LLC structure in order to build market-value apartments for non-student citizens of Milwaukee. Becoming an LLC allows WLHS to contribute a long-term revenue stream to their city.

Impacts

Since the opening of Honey Creek Hall, WLHS has seen its biggest rising freshman class in 20 years. The total student body has grown to about 800 students compared to the previous year of 675. 

Adopting an LLC title has increased their sustainability as a business while also giving WLHS a better opportunity to increase their outreach to their community. Not only has the student body increased, but so has the positive impact on their city. 

WLHS has been able to leverage the land value as a longer-term revenue stream by bringing in tax revenue through its new centrally-located facilities. 

The development of Honey Creek Hall has also increased the opportunity for global learning through an added emphasis on incorporating international student’s cultures from home.