Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Mount Mary Begins Work on Trinity Woods Development

Intergenerational-housing complex provides spaces for students with kids to seniors.

By - Aug 2nd, 2020 05:42 pm
Trinity Woods development site. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Trinity Woods development site. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Mount Mary University, located on Milwaukee’s far west side, is ramping up work on its new housing development. A formal “groundbreaking” is planned for September 3rd, but visitors to the site today will find plenty of earthmoving already underway.

The $45 million complex will provide housing for the sisters of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, including assisted living units, as well as housing for single mothers attending the university and their children. An early childhood education center is also planned for the complex, available to residents, staff and the community.

The development, expected to be completed in fall 2021, will be known as Trinity Woods, a reference to the adjacent, 10-acre woods, the Catholic faith’s holy trinity, and the project’s three partners – Mount Mary, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Milwaukee Catholic Home.

The university is building the development on the north side of its 80-acre campus, located at the southwest corner of N. 92nd St. and W. Burleigh St.

The university, through a contractor, recently cleared the site of approximately 300 trees. It reports that 255 were “non-native Scotch pine trees that were diseased and reaching their end of life.” The pine trees will be transported to a paper mill to be “repurposed,” while boards from the hardwood trees will be integrated into the building’s interior.

“As this project moves forward, the Mount Mary grounds will bear the effects of temporary disruption,” said Mount Mary president Christine Pharr in a statement. “But as partners, we stand committed in our care for God’s creation and in our vision of an intergenerational community that is truly built for all.”

Plans call for 52 assisted-living units for sisters who require care, 90 one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments for sisters and other seniors, and 16 to 24 family units for undergraduate single mothers and their children.

A three-story “town hall” building, with a gathering space, health clinic, salon and bistro would link the various housing wings. Various amenities in the town hall portion would be open to university students and staff.

Roseville, MN-based Senior Housing Partners is serving as the developer for the partners. Milwaukee-based Plunkett Raysich Architects is leading the design, while VJS Construction Services is leading the general contracting.

Northland Securities, First Business Bank and the Wisconsin Health and Education Facilities Authority (WHEFA) are providing financing for the project.

Milwaukee Catholic Home, which manages the Elm Grove property for the sisters, will manage the order’s portion of the new complex. Artifacts from the current complex will be incorporated into the new development.

The sisters will move their residence from Notre Dame of Elm Grove as part of the project. One hundred sisters currently live in Elm Grove with an additional 100 spread throughout the Milwaukee area. The international organization has over 3,000 members.

The Mandel Group is planning to redevelop the sisters’ existing home.

Many of the sisters are Mount Mary graduates said Pharr when the project was announced in December 2019. The university was founded as a ministry of the School Sisters in 1913 and moved to its 80-acre home in Milwaukee in 1929.

Mount Mary University has 1,349 students, including 726 female undergraduate and 623 co-ed graduate students.


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