Welford Sanders Lofts / Milwaukee, WI

Welford Sanders Lofts is part of a larger redevelopment initiative to revitalize the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive corridor in Milwaukee. The historic Nunn Bush Shoe Company Factory was completely gutted and remodeled to provide modern, quality, affordable housing to the neighborhood. The redevelopment was named in honor of the late Welford Sanders, former Executive Director of MLK Economic Development Corp, who was influential in initiating and completing a number of impactful redevelopment efforts along the MLK corridor.

Continuum assisted building owners in securing historic tax credits, as well as WHEDA credits. Adhering to a strict budget, universal housing requirements, supportive housing requirements and historic design limitations, Continuum designed 59 mixed-income, two- to four-bedroom apartments and amenities – such as individual storage, underground parking, large unit-wide windows, a community room, a fitness center, and a private exterior plaza.

Transforming historic buildings for new uses always brings architectural challenges. One such challenge with this project was creating a new and identifiable residential entrance when only a nondescript and awkward factory entrance existed. Another was addressing a 42” grade difference at the existing building west entrance, which was making accessibility difficult to achieve. Continuum addressed both with a two-story entrance lobby that includes a new chair lift and entrance stairs. The design not only solves both challenges, but also now provides a welcoming, spacious community lobby area for the building.


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