Demand for Housing Not Yet Met
Downtown housing preferred by many
Sheboygan, WI – February 8, 2018 – Recently the City of Sheboygan completed a Request for Proposal (RFP) to rehabilitate or redevelop the former Sheboygan Municipal Armory. Among several excellent plans competing for the site the recommended proposal included the addition of 122 apartments, adding to the much-needed multi-family development in Sheboygan County.
In 2014, the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC), following up on local business concerns, issued a multifamily study that indicated an instant need for 300 units. “The flaw in the study was that it did not extrapolate the vacancy rate to all rentals in Sheboygan County,” stated Dane Checolinski, SCEDC Director. “When one does that, the study really found a need for ~700 apartment units.”
Sheboygan County has completed 800 units with 322 units open and available with another 475 units under construction. Some might surmise that the thirst for apartments is now quenched.
Checolinski doesn’t think so. Since 2014, the job market has only accelerated. In addition, owner-occupied construction has lagged far behind, putting more pressure on housing. Sheboygan County has average adding ~700 jobs year after year since the recession. “At that rate we would need at least 350 housing units per year assuming a two-person working household. The lack of housing is a key reason for Sheboygan County’s recent sluggish population growth,” stated Checolinski. Over 1/3rd of Americans rent which means Sheboygan County has an ongoing demand of at least a hundred units per year.
The lack of housing makes it much harder for area companies to recruit workers, one of three primary concerns for Mayline/Safco’s departure from the market. The SCEDC estimates that a total of 1,150 units are need by the end of 2018 and 1,400 units in 2020. With the Armory apartment plan and all other projects moving forward Sheboygan County would have just over 1,200 units, still hundreds shy of where the County needs to be by the close of the decade.
The Armory Proposal also has a high-demand unit no one else has yet built, 3-bedroom townhomes for relocated families a need shared by company recruiters and real-estate community. Above all is the change in demographic preferences with both millennials and empty-nesters are increasingly preferring urban housing options with nearby amenities such as the YMCA, downtown, lakefront and Riverwalk. The recommended proposal would help the City of Sheboygan capture this consumer trend and help make downtown and riverfront more attractive for “mom and pop” businesses by encouraging population density.
Checolinski stated, “We are getting close, but not there yet on multifamily development. The SCEDC believes despite the impressive effort to “catch up” from a lost decade of development Sheboygan County still doesn’t have enough apartments. Even when we do catch up, hundreds of units will be needed per year to match our growing economy.”