Trolley Quarter Flats

In response to the need for diverse housing options for low-income residents in the City of Wausau, MetroPlains Development and MSR transformed this abandoned industrial parcel of land into market-rate, quality housing offered at below market rate.

Located on the Wisconsin River on the edge of downtown, the site presented challenges. A dilapidated, but structurally-sound trolley shed and wood super-structure (used to lift carriages off the trolley platform for repairs), located on the site, were the last remnants of Wausau’s street trolley system, which operated from 1906 to 1940. Understanding the historic significance of these structures, the developer and design team preserved and incorporated them into the design. The 40-unit complex includes private outdoor areas for all dwelling units, private garden plots for each ground level unit, play and study areas for children inside and outside the building, community space for adults, and parking. It has served as a catalyst for further revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood and to strengthen Wausau’s downtown.

“Once upon a time, streetcar lines crisscrossed most major American cities. Even little Wausau, Wisconsin, had a trolley system. It’s long gone, of course, but one visible reminder still stands—a 1920s trolley shed that’s just been granted a second life as the centerpiece of a new affordable housing complex. . . . Generously-sized apartments and inviting communal spaces have made Trolley Quarter Flats a hit with working families and artists.”
—Amy Goetzman, Architecture Minnesota 
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