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Latest ACRE class to receive training for main street projects in Milwaukee neighborhoods – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In an effort to bring more activity to commercial corridors in Milwaukee neighborhoods like Sherman Park and Clarke Square, LISC Milwaukee is preparing a new generation of developers to lead projects there.

The community development organization has partnered with the city to bring more attention to six commercial corridors, said executive director Donsia Strong Hill. One way to do that, she said, is a greater emphasis on small-scale commercial and mixed-use projects in this year’s classes in the Associates in Commercial Real Estate, or ACRE training program.

Donsia Strong Hill, Executive Director of LISC Milwaukee
Donsia Strong Hill is a past ACRE graduate.

“We want to extend this opportunity and expect to extend it to ACRE alumni,” Strong Hill said. “Hopefully you’ll get the benefit of folks who are familiar with the environment and willing to go in and tackle some of the harder-to-develop areas.”

The ACRE program for years has trained people and helped them build connections to enter the real estate industry. It has been successful in bringing more women and minorities into the business.

We profile in our Dec. 2 edition several developers who graduated ACRE earlier this year, and now are taking on projects in Milwaukee neighborhoods.

Many past graduates who became lead developers have done affordable apartment developments. Such projects have been a focus on past courses, Strong Hill said, because of the high degree of subsidy available through federal affordable housing tax credits.

But this year there will be more training on smaller commercial projects and work in main street corridors, Strong Hill said. It will prepare the ACRE grads to potentially do projects in the neighborhoods the city and LISC have partnered on, she said.

Those six areas are the Riverworks neighborhood along North Holton Street, North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Avenues West, Clarke Square south of the Menomonee Valley, Lindsay Heights, and West Burleigh Street in Sherman Park.

LISC Milwaukee runs ACRE with the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Students in the 26-week program get lectures from developers and work in teams around conceptual development proposals. Networking opportunities this year will include small group dinners with developers including Stewart Wangard, founder of Wangard Partners in Milwaukee, and General Capital Group president Michael Weiss.

Strong Hill said 67 people applied for the 2016-’17 ACRE class, and 20 were invited to enroll.

“They’re all working full time and the professionals run the gamut from engineers to city planners, to realtors to COOs,” Strong Hill said.

Read article in Milwaukee Business Journal.