Residential care center proposed for vacant west side building

Redevelopment could spare property from demolition

Rendering of the care center proposed at 2801 W. Wisconsin Ave.

A three-story commercial building on Milwaukee’s west side that is slated for demolition could become the site of a home for people with disabilities under a proposal by an Oconomowoc-based group.

Rendering of the care center proposed at 2801 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Rendering of the care center proposed at 2801 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Oconomowoc Residential Programs, Inc., is planning to open a 50-bed residential care center and therapeutic school for 12- to 20-year-old male children and youth with emotional and mental disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders and traumatic brain injuries at 2801 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Approximately 142 people will work at the center, according to documents filed with the city.

The plan will be reviewed by the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals on Feb. 9.

ORP purchased the 50,595-square-foot building in November 2015, two months after the city of Milwaukee issued a raze order on the property.

After buying the building for $50,000 from T.V. John & Son Inc., a general contractor based in Butler, ORP filed a restraining order against the city in Milwaukee County Circuit Court to stop the raze order.

The 47-year-old building met the criteria to be razed because its repairs would cost more than 50 percent of its assessed value of $203,400,said Heather Hough, assistant city attorney.

“The city does not want to have someone go in and make the repairs necessary and have things grandfathered in,” Hough said. “From the city’s prospective, the preference is to have a whole new structure put up.”

The city agreed to a stay on the raze order pending the BOZA decision. The next court date is March 23.

“This is a tricky case,” Hough said. “Here we have someone with resources to pay for repairs and make it a complex for a purpose that also affects our zoning. Normally there is a decision up front but the judge has relied on his powers of equity to see how this plays out a bit.”

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