Created in 2010 as a successor to HUD's HOPE VI program, The Choice Neighborhoods program works with public housing authorities, community stakeholders, local governments, businesses, and private developers in transforming distressed, struggling neighborhoods. The program provides competitive grants for both planning and implementation to redevelop public and assisted housing into mixed-use, mixed-income communities. Torti Gallas' Westlawn Neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Twin Rivers project in Sacramento, California each received a $30 million Implementation Grant.
In order to assist with their long term funding strategy for the Westlawn Revitalization, the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) contracted Torti Gallas to facilitate a charrette process, generate a master plan, conceptual architecture, a market analysis, a cost estimate and exhibits and attachments specific to the various funding applications. Following the charrette, the team refined the master plan alternatives into a final master plan including new residential units, a pharmacy, maintenance/ management facility, commercial/ incubator retail space, a neighborhood center and community gardens.
Phase I of Westlawn, consisting of 2 Multifamily buildings totalling 94 one-bedroom units for elderly and/or disabled residents or small families, and 156 tax credit townhomes and side-by-side houses, is complete and occupied. The Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant will allow the HACM to redevelop the rest of the public housing and also revitalize the surrounding neighborhood. The Transformation Plan consists of the redevelopment of 708 new mixed-income housing units, including 394 replacement units, both on the Westlawn site and in the surrounding neighborhood. The plan also includes strategic investments to improve the entire neighborhood, improve access to retail and transportation and strengthen families' health and employment.
Westlawn's first phase is LEED-ND Silver Certified and LEED-H Platinum Certified.
Torti Gallas was engaged as master planner for the Twin Rivers project by McCormack Baron Salazar under the auspices of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. Redevelopment of this isolated public housing neighborhood was spurred by the award of a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant in 2011.
Twin Rivers is a distressed 218-unit residential enclave surrounded by light industry, auto-oriented uses, and a major commuter artery with heavy traffic. It lies less than two miles north of downtown Sacramento, adjoins a public school site, and is bisected by a planned light rail line. The American River Parkway, a 23-mile network of recreation areas, is only a short walk away.
The Transformation Plan calls for the demolition of the existing housing site and the development of 487 units of mixed-income housing. It will also bring new transit service to the neighborhood and improvements to local homeless services facilities.