Sunset Homes condos could benefit from $1.6 million city loan
Would be used for ‘common area repairs’ to prevent blight

By Matt Masterson - Freeman Staff

Aug. 27, 2015

 The Sunset Homes condominium complex is showing its age and there is a proposal to use TIF funds to help pay for common area improvements.  
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA - A proposed amendment to a tax incremental district would provide some Sunset Homes Condominiums with a $1.6 million loan to use for “common area repairs,” including roof leaks and building siding that has fallen into disrepair.

Without immediate intervention, city of Waukesha staff believe the condos “will rapidly decline to a state that will be blighted,” negatively affecting neighboring property values and hindering future development in the area, according to a city report.

The 120-unit development, located between Big Bend Road and East Avenue off Sunset Drive, was built in 1973 but has had little to no updating or improvements since that time.

According to the report, the site has leaky roofs and deteriorated siding, while the parking lot surfaces are well beyond their useful life spans. The report also cites severe drainage issues at the development.

 The Sunset Homes condominium complex is showing its age. The city has a plan to use TIF district funds to help fund repairs.  
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

During a Plan Commission meeting earlier this month, Community Development Specialist Jeff Fortin said the city would amend the TID to create a $1.65 million loan for funding improvements in common areas - including the roofs, siding and pavement - at the condos.

The loan would be made to the Sunset Homes condo association and would be paid back through increased condo association fees over the next 15 years. Fortin estimates that increase would equal approximately $100 per unit.

Any improvements to individual units would remain the condo owner’s responsibility.

The report states that if the repairs generate an increase in property values, portions of the payments may be forgiven.

In 2009, the units were assessed at over $100,000, but just six years later they are now assessed at a little over $50,000, the city report states. They are defined as affordable, entry-level housing units for occupants who “are likely below the county median income.”

Community Development Director Jennifer Andrews said the city is working with the condo association to create a reserve fund to account for the maintenance requirements they will encounter over the life of the loan.

She hopes repairs on the buildings can be completed this year, while pavement work would be done in the spring of 2016.

The Common Council is set to vote on the amendment at its Sept. 1 meeting. It was previously approved by both the Redevelopment Authority and the Plan Commission.