St. John’s selling bonds for tower, hopes for October groundbreaking

Saint John’s On The Lake, a senior apartment complex located at 1840 N. Prospect Ave. on Milwaukee’s east side, recently began selling tax free municipal bonds to finance its planned 21-story, 88-unit expansion project.

The bonds are available through the Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority. Saint John’s hired Ziegler Wealth Management, a division of B.C. Ziegler and Company, to handle the bond sale.

“The bonds are being offered (for sale to the public), as we speak," said Saint John’s spokesman Rick Romano. "Things are moving along."

Saint John’s needs to sell $83.275 million in bonds to build the building.

"Ziegler is very confident it is all going to get done in a very short period of time," Romano said.

Saint John’s executives decided to sell bonds for the project when they determined that was a better option for them than getting financing from a bank. Bank financing for major real estate developments has been extremely hard to obtain since the U.S. financial market meltdown last year.

"We found that this was the way we could do it,” Romano said. “We certainly approached banks. (But) we found that this was the way to get this project done."

Ziegler will host an event for investors that might be interested in purchasing the bonds. The event will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 23 from 2-7 p.m. at Saint John’s on the Lake.

So far 75 percent of the apartment units in the planned expansion have been reserved, Romano said. That could help attract investors to the project.

Saint John’s is hoping to break ground on the project during the first half of October and complete it in 2011, Romano said.

Pewaukee-based VJS Construction Services is the general contractor for the project.

"They are prepped and ready to go as soon as we give them the green light," Romano said.

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