Originally published in the Herland-Independent/McFarland Thistle on Feb. 7, 2019.MCFARLAND, WI – Horizon Development Group explained what it would like to develop at 4719 Farwell St. during an open house Monday. Several residents, including elected and appointed officials, attended the event, which was rescheduled from Feb. 24.

Horizon is one of the developers that submitted a proposal to the village for what has been known as the Gannon property. The company would like to build two L-shaped buildings on the site.

“We’ve been looking at McFarland for quite some time for a similar project to what we’re proposing right now,” said Will Rutherford of Horizon.

Rutherford said the two-phase project, dubbed Scarlett Oaks Senior Housing, would have a total of 96 independent senior living apartments between the two buildings. Each of the structures would have 5,000 square feet of commercial space.

Phase I would be a four-story building with 56 market-rate rental units, and Phase II would be three-story building with 40 affordable rental units. The second phase would be funded with the assistance of tax credits, Rutherford said.

“When we did an analysis of your market, we saw there was a demand for both market-rate apartments and affordable housing units,” he said.

When asked why Phase I is four stories, the Horizon representative said there was a need for the density to receive the project financing. Furthermore, Phase II would not be built until the competitive tax credits were received; the developers said the second phase could also be built as market-rate apartments if the tax credits are not granted. In the worst-case scenario, the second structure would not be built.

Rutherford said the location for the independent senior living units would be excellent, because it is closet to amenities; it could be beneficial to the village because it might promote turnover of single-family residences as local seniors would move out of their homes to the apartments.

A surface parking lot would be built between the two buildings and there would be underground parking for residents. Rutherford said the amount of surface parking spaces is due to the commercial space.

As for filling the commercial space, Rutherford said Horizon has been in talks with two local businesses that may be interested in relocating to the Scarlett Oaks development. They would also talk to potential tenants that are not located in McFarland.

The village community development authority was scheduled to discuss providing direction on revisions to the proposals from Horizon and Lakestone Properties earlier this week.

Read the full story from the Herald-Independent/McFarland Thistle here.