Madison-based developer The Alexander Company has been selected to restore six buildings to their original purpose of serving veterans at the Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home on the grounds of the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center.
The buildings, including the iconic Old Main, the most prominent and recognizable building on the campus, the Administration Building, the Catholic Chaplain’s Quarters and three duplexes will be renovated into a total of 100 housing units with supportive services for veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
“The Milwaukee Soldiers Home represents our nation’s commitment to care for our veterans,” Joseph Alexander, president of The Alexander Company, said in a written statement. “Our team is honored to have the opportunity to work with these historic buildings and we are proud that through our work, we will be able to return them to the veterans they were built to serve.”
The project is possible through the Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) program with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The six buildings will be leased out long term to The Alexander Company, which will take on the cost of rehabilitation. The law authorizing EULs requires that the buildings be used to provide housing for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The VA selected The Alexander Company and the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority’s proposal after a competitive RFP process earlier this year. The development plan will be finalized in the coming months.
“Our mission is to serve veterans,” said Gary Kunich, spokesman at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. “This project will allow us to preserve a significant piece of local and national history while doing what we do best – helping veterans.”
The redevelopment partnership includes the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, which will operate the buildings after they have been renovated.
Since 2005, the housing authority has provided housing to homeless veterans on the VA grounds at the historic Surgeon’s Quarters building, which the housing authority remediated and restored into a single-room occupancy facility.
“This project is a tangible way we can support our troops every day,” Tony Pérez, Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee Secretary-Executive Director, said in a written statement. “We are honored to be part of a team that will increase services to veterans while preserving the historic nature of the VA grounds.”
Planned financing for the anticipated $40 million project includes low income housing tax credits, federal and state historic tax credits, grants, fund-raised dollars and additional soft financing.
Work is anticipated to begin in fall 2017, with all buildings completed by April 2019.