Bethesda Lutheran Communities plans to build apartments for adults with developmental disabilities in Milwaukee

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A rendering of Bethesda Cornerstone Village – Highland Housing Development. (Render: Quorum Architects)

Watertown based Lutheran communities of Bethesda is moving forward with plans to bring a new model of housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the western part of Milwaukee, the first of what could be several similar developments in the area.

Bethesda plans to construct a 68-unit apartment building at 3200 W. Highland Blvd. which will include units for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and units for the elderly.

Bethesda leaders say the integrated approach to housing provides a safe home for people with disabilities while promoting greater inclusion in the community.

The $ 15.7 million project is planned as a 75,000 square foot building. Thirteen units would be dedicated to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and 55 units would be intended for people aged 55 and over. A total of 62 would be affordable housing and six would be market rate housing.

The facilities would include an approximately 1,100 square foot community service facility, community center, fitness center, green space, walking path and outdoor patio.

The nonprofit recently opened its first location using this housing model, called Cornerstone Village, in a suburb of Minneapolis.

“There is a real need,” said Tom Campbell, vice president of real estate for Bethesda. “The proof of concept is our Minneapolis project. Our reserve is full of people with intellectual disabilities. It’s a level two suburb there, so we think by the very nature of the people Highland is in, we’re going to help.

Campbell noted that many more new units are needed in Milwaukee to address housing issues for this population. There are approximately 40,000 adults in Milwaukee County with dementia and, according to national research, the majority of these people live with an aging parent or guardian, creating uncertainty about their living circumstances. future.

The planned Milwaukee development is one of four additional locations Bethesda currently has under construction – including a suburban site in St. Paul and two in the Sacramento, California area.

Bethesda is also working with Elm Grove-based Luther Group LLC on another housing development in Milwaukee that would include around 100 units. Campbell said the organization is in control of the site’s location but is not yet disclosing it.

“Our goal here is really to roll out multiple developments,” said Campbell. “We are working within the metro to create additional housing communities to fill this unmet need. … This concept really allows people with intellectual disabilities to lead more independent lives. These are not licensed installations; these are apartment communities where support services are put in place to enable these people to lead independent lives.

The Cornerstone Village – Highland project received tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority in April.

Attorney Aurora Health donated the property at 3200 W. Highland, which was once his Aurora Family Services building, in Bethesda for the project. Bethesda plans to demolish the building and construct the building on site. The Greater Milwaukee Foundation provided a pre-construction expense grant.

The Milwaukee Center for Independence is expected to provide services – such as benefits advocacy, employment and vocational training, case management and art, music, pets and horticultural therapy – on-site in the new establishment.

Bethesda retained the services of Quorum Architects and Cardinal Capital Management to design and construct the building. The organization has also worked with Near West Side Partners on community engagement efforts.

“Cornerstone Village is truly a community – a community not only for the residents who live in the housing community itself, but also for the outdoors. So how can we impact this surrounding neighborhood? We are looking for partners, ”said Campbell.

Bethesda plans to open the Highland facility in the spring of 2022.



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