Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

State’s Largest HIV Clinic Relocating, Expanding

Vivent Health moving from Plankinton Ave. to former MATC building on 6th and McKinley.

By - Jul 19th, 2022 05:18 pm
1311 N. 6th St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

1311 N. 6th St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Vivent Health announced Tuesday that it is relocating its HIV clinic to 1311 N. 6th St., expanding its capacity by more than 20%.

“The need for HIV services is at an all-time high,” said Michael J. Gifford, Vivient president and CEO, in a statement. “This new facility will launch us forward to meet that need and begin to end the HIV epidemic in Wisconsin through expanded and effective HIV prevention, care and treatment services.”

Vivent, formerly known as the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, expects to be able to serve an additional 1,000 patients in the new facility. That would be a 21% increase from the 4,753 patients served in 2021.

The nonprofit organization is leasing 46,277 square feet of space from The Druml Company. It will take over a building most recently leased by Milwaukee Area Technical College. The building is across the street from the Deer District and the planned new home for the Milwaukee Public Museum.

The organization will relocate its clinic 0.7 miles northwest from 814 N. Plankinton Ave. Its corporate and administrative offices will remain at the ASQ Center, 648 N. Plankinton Ave. Through a series of mergers, Vivent operates clinics in Austin, Denver, St. Louis, Kansas City and Wisconsin.

The $9 million Milwaukee clinic project is being designed by Quorum Architects. Tri-North is leading the general contracting. Work is expected to start on Aug. 15 with a project move-in date of April 1, 2023.

“We are making a multi-million dollar investment in a building that has largely been empty for many years,” said Margaret Lidstone, chief development officer. “Drawing on the support of the community we can turn this vacant space into the model for health care in Milwaukee and beyond.” The new location will also include a 30% larger food pantry, three dental workspaces and, for the first time, a prevention group room.

Vivent reports that 95% of its patients have achieved viral suppression, a measurable point at which HIV-positive patients are not at risk of transmitting the disease to others. It reports that this exceeds the national average of 88%. More significantly, Vivent reports that 93% of Black patients have reached viral suppression, which exceeds a national average of 61% reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The move was first rumored in 2021, when Druml sought a zoning change to enable a broader series of uses for the property. Building permits for the project were first sought in February.

“The location was chosen specifically because it is in the heart of the area with the highest prevalence of people living with or at-risk of contracting HIV in the entire state,” wrote the organization in a press release. But the ZIP codes listed where most of the new patients will come from are not immediately adjacent to the new facility. The organization said it expects the 1,000 new patients to primarily come from “the most medically underserved areas in Milwaukee, namely the 53204, 53214, 53215, 53216 and 53218 ZIP codes.” Those ZIP codes cover the area south of Interstate 94 between Interstate 43 and S. 124th St. as well as a section of the city’s North Side from roughly W. Silver Spring Dr. to W. Capitol Dr. in the blocks east of N. 76th St.

The building where Vivent will now be located was originally constructed in 1926 by The Milwaukee Journal.

The Vivent space includes a surface parking lot to the north of the building, 1325 N. 6th St. The west side of the Vivent building includes a two-story addition that is leased to other tenants and faces N. 7th St. It includes access to a Druml-owned surface parking lot to the west at 724 W. McKinley Ave. A building permit indicates the Department of Corrections is also leasing space in the future Vivent building.

Druml owns a number of other nearby properties, including a one-story office building leased to Layer One Media at 623 W. Vliet St., a one-story industrial facility at 1354 N. 7th St. and an office building at 1322 N. 8th St.

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