Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Veterans Housing Complex Plans Expansion

Vets Place Central on 35th and Wisconsin would expand space for homeless veterans.

By - Jan 30th, 2023 07:03 pm
Vets Place Central. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Vets Place Central. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A military veterans housing development near N. 35th St. and W. Wisconsin Ave. could receive a four-story addition with 48 new apartments.

The Center for Veterans Issues (CVI) is exploring building an addition to the rear of its Vets Place Central apartment building, 3330 W. Wells St.

A building permit application submitted to the Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) for pre-submittal review indicates the nonprofit is exploring developing 48 apartments on the three upper floors, first-floor offices and a basement dining room and kitchen.

The existing building is used for a transitional housing program and is approved for up to 86 occupants. The organization, according to its website, requires prospective tenants to be homeless, have a disability or be at least 55 years old, have a “stable income,” have at least 90 days of documented “clean time” and a willingness to stay drug and alcohol free.

“Without a safe environment with supportive housing and services, many veterans could not break the cycle of homelessness and move on to jobs and permanent housing,” says the CVI website.

According to a plan review letter, CVI isn’t looking to increase the number of units at the facility, but would create more space for those that live there. “The occupant counts will not be changing. Currently there are 4 to 5 people per room. The new addition provides individual rooms,” says a Board of Zoning Appeals referral letter from DNS. The building is currently authorized to have 14 rooming-house-style residents and 72 transitional living occupants.

CVI also operates a series of permanent supportive housing complexes, including Veterans Manor at 720-730 N. 35th St., two blocks southwest of Vets Place. The 52-unit building opened in 2011. A similar facility was developed in Green Bay. The organization also operates scattered-site housing and a complex in Racine. CVI’s property management arm oversees the award-winning Soldiers Home Complex veterans’ housing campus.

The latest permit request was submitted by Cityscape Architecture according to city records, but the submitted drawings are from Galbraith Carnahan Architects. Board of Zoning Appeals approval would be required before the development could progress. Much of the site is currently a parking lot.

The 501(c)(3) organization maintains its headquarters a block to the south at the Brigadier General Robert A. Cocroft Veterans Resource Center, 3400 W. Wisconsin Ave. In 2022, the Common Council approved an honorary street name for the late Robert Cocroft, the organization’s longtime CEO. W. Wisconsin Ave. now bears signage honoring Cocroft from N. 27th St. to N. 35th St.

A representative of the Center for Veterans Issues did not respond to a request for comment.

The Vets Place Central building was originally constructed in 1954 and acquired by CVI in 1994 according to city assessment records.

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