The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Watertown-based Bethesda Lutheran Communities Inc. is proposing two housing developments that include apartments for adults with developmental disabilities on Milwaukee’s near west side and in Wauwatosa.
Bethesda is a nonprofit group that provides services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It has a long history in Watertown.
Bethesda’s Senior Director of Public Affairs Don Klein was not available for comment by Daily Times press time Thursday.
In Milwaukee in 2021, the proposed Bethesda Cornerstone Village would be developed at 3200 W. Highland Blvd. That is the site of a building that is now used by Aurora Family Services, said Tom Campbell, Bethesda’s vice president of real estate.
That building would be demolished and replaced by a five-story building with 68 apartments, Campbell said.
Advocate Aurora Health is donating the building to Bethesda. Bethesda is also seeking federal affordable housing tax credits to help finance the project.
If it receives the tax credits, Bethesda would set aside 62 apartments as affordable units.
Also, 14 apartments would be set aside for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, with the remaining apartments for adults age 55 and above.
Meanwhile, another Bethesda Cornerstone Village development is being proposed by Bethesda and Madison-based Cardinal Capital Management Inc. for 1330 N. Wauwatosa Ave.
According to the Journal Sentinel, that five-story building would have 79 apartments and street-level commercial space, according to a new proposal.
Sixteen apartments would be set aside at affordable rents for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The remaining units would have market rents.
The $23 million development proposal was recently submitted to the City of Wauwatosa. The city in fall 2020 issued a request for proposals for the site, known as the Blanchard Street parking lot. The Wauwatosa Community Development Authority will review those competing proposals.
Bethesda, in 2019, broke ground on a similar development in Victoria, Minnesota.
It opened in August, and is a model for what Bethesda wants to build in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and other communities.
In September of 2020, Bethesda announced that, due, in part, to its revenue streams drying up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be closing its group homes, day programs and employment services in Watertown and Wisconsin.
Its corporate office remains in Watertown, albeit with staff reductions.
Klein said at that time, that Bethesda College and thrift stores would not be affected by the decisions, and its then-new residential community concept — Bethesda Cornerstone Village — would have a presence in Wisconsin, as it is now developing.
According to the Watertown Historical Society, Bethesda was founded in 1904 as Faith House in a rented building on Margaret Street.