Senior community planned for southern end of former Gehl site in West Bend

City leaders on Monday approved agreement with Minnesota-based developer and senior-community operator

The former Gehl Co. site in West Bend. (Credit: Washington County)

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:54 am

A portion of the former Gehl Co. site in downtown West Bend may be developed into a new senior-living community.

On Monday night, the city’s Common Council agreed to enter into an agreement with Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based RNT Development LLC/New Perspective Senior Living, that grants the group exclusive rights to the roughly 4.5 acres that make up the southern end of the 8-acre, city-owned property at the southwestern corner of Water Street and Forest Avenue.

The intent of the developer is to use that site to build a senior residential facility, which will be operated by New Perspective, according to a news release. The sale of the land is still being negotiated between RNT and the city.

The release did not disclose how large the senior development might be, in terms of square footage or number of beds. Representatives of RNT and New Perspective did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

City officials said the development team has met with city staff and made clear it had all the tools necessary to execute the development. New Perspective already has a presence in West Bend with an independent living, assisted living and memory care facility at 2130 Continental Drive.

“We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with the residents of West Bend,” Todd Novaczyk, founder and CEO of New Perspective, said in the release. “Helping seniors in the community live life on purpose. We also are grateful to be a part of this exciting time for downtown West Bend.”

Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said the proposed senior community was “precisely what the city of West Bend was looking for” when it acquired the Gehl site and prepared it for redevelopment.

“This proposal is one of the highest and best uses for the site and will serve the community for generations to come,” he said in the release.

The news comes about a month following the city announcing that a developer was planning to build a hotel and office building on the northern 3.3-acre portion of the Gehl site. At its May meeting, the Common Council approved an agreement for RafRad LLC and Iowa-based Kinseth Hospitality Cos. related to those development plans.

Aldermen on Monday also approved an offer to purchase this land. The terms of this offer would have city sell the land for $1. The transaction could take place any time up to Nov. 15. In turn, the developer is required to submit a full site plan by that deadline and meet other conditions outlined in a separate development agreement.

West Bend officials consider the former Gehl site a high priority for redevelopment. The former industrial land served as the site of Gehl Co.’s headquarters until 2008. The site has been eyed by other developers in the past, though none of those projects ever moved forward.

Previous proposals included 96 market-rate apartments from WiRed Properties and Phelan Development, and a mixed-use development by Van Horn Real Estate.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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