TIF Money Could Fix Janesville's Housing Shortage, Developers Say


By Jim Dayton, Janesville Gazette


To solve Janesville’s housing shortage, two real estate developers encouraged the city to consider using tax increment financing to spark new residential activity.

That suggestion was one of the biggest takeaways from Wednesday’s community housing and development forum. The city and Forward Janesville co-sponsored the event at the Pontiac Convention Center.

The forum, which drew about 75 people, explored the city’s need for multiple types of housing. It included a small-group brainstorming session, but when the event ran long, organizers decided to table the groups’ sharing of ideas for another date.

During an opening panel, Hovde Properties President Mike Slavish said developers are disinclined to build here because rents are so low. In downtown Madison, where Hovde is based, rents run between $2 and $2.50 per square foot.

In Janesville, that number is about 87 cents. But construction costs are generally the same between the cities, so it’s tough for developers to see a return on their investment—unless they’re receiving some sort of public incentive, he said.

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