Saint John’s On The Lake on Milwaukee’s East Side will replace or significantly expand its existing three-story building and is planning a third tower on the corner of Prospect Avenue and E. Kane Place.
The changes to the 37-year-old campus, at 1840 N. Prospect Ave., will better serve Saint John’s' most vulnerable population, the 74 residents living in the skilled nursing assisted living portion of the community, said Renée Anderson, president and CEO of Saint John’s.
“We don’t feel this area has been keeping up with the standards of the rest of the campus and this is an opportunity to keep up with best practice and with innovative ideas that are out there today and really respect the needs and the desires of our residents,” Anderson said.
The Saint John’s board of directors approved the expansion in October. Saint John’s is working with Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects and New Orleans-based Blitch Knevel Architects Inc. on the design. Anderson expects to have the design, final cost and financing plan finalized in May.
The campus is currently made up of a 22-story tower that opened in 2011 on the south end with a one-story building connecting it to the campus’ original 10-story tower. On the north side of the property is the three-story structure that presently houses the skilled nursing patients that will be replaced or significantly expanded.
A tower would be built on the north parking lot at Kane Place and Prospect Avenue, Anderson said.
Saint John’s On The Lake is owned and operated by Saint John’s Communities, Inc. It offers continued care for older adults ranging from independent living to skilled nursing care.
Saint John’s has been at its current location on Prospect Avenue since 1979. The campus currently serves about 350 people with another 150 on the waiting list.
Any updates or new construction can be built by right, without city approval, although Anderson said she and board members have met with the city’s Department of City Development, Aldermen Robert Bauman, who represents the neighborhood, and Nik Kovac, who represents the adjacent neighborhood.
Bauman and DCD officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Kovac said he favors tall buildings on Prospect Avenue, but design is what matters and he has not yet seen the plans.
“Since it can be built by right, we don’t have much leverage, so we’ll have to ask them nicely,” Kovac said. “They are a very well run facility. They are also part of museum mile. They have an art museum, and encourage visitors and as long as they have a well-designed building, I am happy.”