Saint John’s New Tower Opens
Work remains on connector building between new building and existing campus.
The first residents have moved into Milwaukee’s newest high-rise development.
Saint John’s on the Lake has opened much of its new North Tower, a $123 million, 22-story building at the southeast corner of N. Prospect Ave. and E. Kane Pl.
The non-profit provider of senior housing and licensed-care will link the tower with its existing campus, using it as a northern bookend. The new building joins the ten-story Central Tower (formerly North Tower, completed in 1979) and the 21-story South Tower (completed in 2011).
The new building includes 79 independent living units, 16 catered living units, a lecture hall/performance space and two levels of below-grade parking. An additional 50 skilled nursing beds and 24 assisted living apartments are included in the base of the building. Those 74 units were relocated from an adjacent connector building attached to the 1979 building.
The new tower sits on the site of what was most recently an employee parking lot. Before that it was the site of an apartment building known as the Benjamin Flats that itself replaced a mansion. If you go back to the 1860s, the site was used as a Civil War camp.
To replace the lost parking, Saint John’s purchased a nearby office building in December and the 50 surface parking spots on its property.
Construction on the new tower, which began with the unceremonious demolition of a small garden, began in January 2018. A formal ceremony was held in April 2018. The first residents of the new 422,000-square-foot complex moved in during January.
And although it’s not yet finished, the property has already ended up in court. The City of Milwaukee imposed an $18.5 million assessment on the property because the non-profit failed to file an exemption form by March 1st, 2019. That triggered an annual property tax bill in excess of $480,000 that the non-profit is currently paying while suing the city in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.
The case is currently before Judge Jeffrey A. Conen with a hearing on the city’s motion to dismiss scheduled for April 28th. The Common Council denied St. John’s appeal in January at the recommendation of the City Attorney’s office, clearing the way for the case to proceed to the court system. Attorneys Alan Marcuvitz and Andrea H. Roschke of von Briesen & Roper are representing Saint John’s.
The remainder of Saint John’s five-acre campus is designated property tax exempt.
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