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North End project to assist minority-owned businesses

6/20/2007 - Milwaukee-based Mandel Group Inc., which recently began demolition work of the former Pfister & Vogel tannery complex for the North End project, will have a significant amount of minority-owned businesses participating in the development. On the site along the Milwaukee River, Mandel Group plans to build several buildings with 88 apartments, 395 condominiums and 30,000 square feet of retail space. The City of Milwaukee is providing $8.8 million in tax incremental financing (TIF) for the $175 million project, to help pay for environmental remediation and infrastructure costs. For the infrastructure and environmental remediation work 18 percent of the contracts will go to emerging business enterprises (owned by women or minorities) and 21 percent of the workers will be from low-income Milwaukee neighborhoods, which is the city's standard requirement for TIF funds.

However, for the rest of the project, which is privately financed, Mandel Group has set an additional voluntary goal of having 10 percent of the work done by emerging business enterprises. In addition, Mandel is using $500,000 of the TIF funds for training. Working with Alderman Joe Davis, the African American Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mandel group will mentor several small minority-owned contractors to help them grow their business. "What we're going to do with this program is work with them or growing their business and expanding their capacity," said Richard Lincoln, senior vice president of Mandel Group.

In addition, Mandel Group plans to make The North End a showcase for green and sustainable development. The U.S. Green Building Council has selected The North End to participate in its LEED-ND program, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development. The North End will be one of the first pilot projects in the nation to integrate the principles of this council, which include smart growth, new urbanism and green building. The construction project for the North End will take several years. Residents will start moving in to the first phase of the North End development in the spring of 2009. The entire development is expected to take five to seven years to build out. The construction project will create about 1,000 jobs. Mandel Group recently held a "virtual demolition" ceremony for the project.

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