Another day, another proposal for low income housing in Racine.
This time the proposal is for downtown Racine on 6th Street. The Racine Journal Times has the story. The building in question is a former YMCA owned by Emily Hill. Linda Ring Weber, Executive Director of The Housing Authority of Racine County wants to convert the building into 10 to 12 low income apartments.
This makes no sense whatsoever. Turning a gymnasium into housing will be extremely expensive. There would be a water hookup fee of a few thousand dollars per unit and let us not forget the prohibitively expensive sprinkler system that would be required. Well, prohibitive for the private sector anyway.
These are the reasons why large downtown buildings have not been coverted to apartments. The cost is way too high, water taxes and requirements are very expensive and taxes on the improvements sap any potential for profits.
Now only government has the resources remaining to build in Racine. My guess is this will cost over $2 million if it is completed. And this will be money spent unnecessarily. The Housing Authority already has an office and Racine has a surplus of low income housing.
Instead of wasting this money on real estate development, the Housing Authority should instead spend the money on housing its clients in the empty homes that already exist.