(90 Total References)
Realtor Video - Scott Fergus, President, C-CAP, LLC
Q & A video - Scott Fergus
, C-CAP, LLC
and Scott Allen, Access Realty
KeyBridge Development - Press Archives
While serving on the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority board in the mid-1980s, Scott Fergus realized that the rising cost of housing was pushing home ownership beyond the reach of many young people.
It was that realization that drove him into nonprofit affordable housing development, where he
has built a reputation leading prominent Waukesha organizations like C-CAP L.L.C. and Community Housing Initiative Inc.
"I wanted to make sure that I could keep home ownership very much alive because home ownership anchors a neighborhood," he
is continuing to bridge that gap in home ownership through a for-profit venture called Key Bridge Group Inc.
The Waukesha firm's first proposed project in Milwaukee --- First Place on the River in the 5th Ward -- is designed to make condominium ownership more affordable for today's young professionals, he
All of those developments were catalysts for further redevelopment of the area, Fergus
"We view the 5th Ward as probably one of the most exciting areas of redevelopment in the Milwaukee area," Fergus
City officials see First Place and other condo projects as generating renewed interest among developers, and residents, in the neighborhood.
"This project (First Place), in conjunction with others, will create a cluster that will become a catalyst for additional development," said Roseann St. Aubin, communications director for the Milwaukee Department of City Development
As the son of a home builder, Fergus
has been working in the home building trades for most of his
life.But his development interest was sparked when, after working in the family business, he was elected state representative for the 61st Assembly District representing Racine in 1984.During his three terms, he served as chairman or member on several committees, including a role as chair of the Committee on Housing, Securities and Corporate Policy.He also served on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and Forward Wisconsin Inc.It was while serving on the board of WHEDA that he came across housing data that showed that the average age of first-time home buyers had shifted from about 25 to the mid-30s.
The data suggested that housing prices and the overall cost-of-living was making people save money longer before buying houses.
Creating optionsThe housing issue led Fergus to keep a hand in the housing industry, working as vice president-real estate finance, for the Wisconsin Realtors Association, after leaving office of his own volition in 1990, he said.In 1994, he established C-CAP, an affordable housing development organization in Waukesha, and would become executive director of a similar organization, Community Housing Initiative, in 1995.
"He's a very aggressive, hard-driving developer," Ries said of Fergus
...But it was C-CAP's first development, Phoenix Heights in Waukesha, that taught Fergus that in order to foster growth in a neighborhood, there needed to be more income diversity among its residents.
The Phoenix Heights subdivision, with a limited price range for its 75 homes, was less successful in that regard, he
"It didn't allow for as much diversity" as he's
seen in some Chicago neighborhoods, Fergus
said."Every development that we've had subsequent to that has expanded the price range."Fergus
also makes a keen effort to ensure than each development suits the neighborhood, according to colleagues."Scott's approach to affordable housing is market-oriented," said Robert Schwarz, vice president of development for C-CAP.
expects swift approval for First Place from the Milwaukee Common Council
.If that happens, Key Bridge
could begin construction as early as this winter, although the tentative starting date remains the spring of 2005.He
hopes to open by mid-2006.Key Bridge
, which is planning a second Milwaukee condo development at 601 E. Ogden Ave., will remain Fergus'
key portal into the Milwaukee development market.Buy the firm is considering development opportunities elsewhere, even out of state, he
JS Online: Affordable housing getting pushed beyond suburbs
In Waukesha County, land prices and density requirements in most communities make it difficult to build affordable housing, said Scott Fergus, executive director of C-Cap, a non-profit group that develops affordable housing in the region.
"In Waukesha County, the price of land is about double what it is in Jefferson County, and that's for single-family residential housing.For multifamily housing like condos, the price blows through the roof; it's about three or four times higher," said Fergus
, whose group now is developing an affordable housing subdivision on the eastern edge of Watertown in Jefferson County.Fergus
and others define affordable housing as any home that a family with an average income of $50,000 could afford.Generally, that would put the price of a home and lot combined at $140,000 to $150,000.
A family's first house
said Phoenix Heights, with 75 homes on 16 acres that once housed a foundry, was made possible because city officials created a tax incremental financing district to pay for infrastructure improvements.The city also allowed greater density of homes and relaxed some zoning codes to facilitate development of the brownfield that was not considered prime real estate in 1999, when the project began.
It is becoming harder to find any land in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties on which to build a development like Phoenix Heights, he
said.In addition to its Watertown project, C-Cap
also is developing a condominium project in Walworth County.
Filling a niche
Just four miles west of Oconomowoc near the county line, Stonewood Companies
Realty of Hartland is building a 64-home subdivision in the Town of Ixonia in Jefferson County.
JS Online: Hartford spurns typical suburban model
Scott Fergus, president of C-CAP Inc., a Waukesha-based company specializing in affordable and starter housing, said Hartford's development policies distinguish it from other suburban Milwaukee communities.
Hartford keeps housing costs down by allowing construction on lots as small as 8,000 square feet, while most other suburban communities have a 15,000-square-foot minimum, he
"Hartford is unique," said Fergus
, whose firm is constructing a city subdivision with 55 single-family dwellings, some costing $130,000 each, including the price of the building lot.
"Hartford is really the only community in the four-county area around Milwaukee - with the exception of the city of Waukesha
- that holds to this standard and practices that policy."
Waukesha Mayor Carol Lombardi said while her
city welcomes commuters, it also works toward developing "mixed housing" opportunities that enable residents to live and work locally.
Lombardi encouraged Fergus' group to build the Phoenix Heights subdivision, where single-family homes sell for $105,000 to $148,000.
JS Online: Building condos for seniors opens up homes
The idea is that as senior citizens move to smaller, lower-maintenance condominiums, their older, more affordable single-family homes become available to younger, working families, said Scott Fergus, president of C-CAP Inc., a Waukesha-based non-profit housing development group.
"It's something we've been looking at for six months.There's an acceptance in the marketplace for elderly-only housing.This may become a very important strategy" for C-CAP, Fergus
C-CAP's efforts to build affordable "work force" housing often meet stiff resistance from suburban planners, who frown on high-density developments with smaller homes - both necessary ingredients for making homes affordable to average working families.
But those same planners are usually less critical of senior housing projects for two reasons, Fergus
and others said.
"It helps create a higher tax base with less drain on schools and other services," Fergus
Second, many communities are concerned that their senior residents are being forced to move out of their hometowns because they cannot find the low-maintenance, affordable housing in a secure environment offered by seniors-only developments.
For that reason, the Brookfield Common Council
in 1999 created special zoning for senior housing projects that allows them to have more units per acre and smaller square footages than what would be allowed for conventional multifamily developments.
"Aldermen saw the zoning change as an opportunity to give more elderly Brookfield residents a chance to stay in the city that has been their home," said Brookfield City Administrator Dean Marquardt.
"Generally, the elderly who move into condominiums and independent-living types of housing are moving from homes built in the '40s and '50s and that are 1,100 and 1,200 square feet," far smaller, and thus less expensive, than what most zoning rules allow to be built, Fergus
In Brookfield, for instance, Marquardt estimated that most of the homes vacated by seniors in favor of condominiums would sell for less than $200,000, below Brookfield's average home sale price of $262,671, according to the Metro Multiple Listing Service of Wauwatosa.
In Cedarburg, the Korens' house would sell for about $190,000, well below the city's average sale price of $246,125.