Unique St. Coletta Property on the Market

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

St. Coletta of Wisconsin, a Catholic organization that provides services to people with developmental and other disabilities, is trying to sell its 174-acre campus in Jefferson. The property actually has been for sale for about a year, said Andrea Speth, vice president of development and community relations for St. Coletta. However, St. Coletta recently decided to work with a different broker, switching from NAI MLG Commercial to Colliers Barry.

"We need to get more aggressive with (selling) it," Speth said.

It will be difficult to find a buyer whose needs are a fit for the unique St. Coletta campus. The property has 363,508 square feet of space in 19 buildings. The buildings were built between 1864 and the 1980s. The first structure was a convent for the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi-Milwaukee. Today, the campus is a combination of office, classroom, residential and recreational buildings.

The campus has a farm where residents used to grow their own food, and one of the buildings has an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

"It’s a community onto itself," Speth said. "The property is beautiful. It’s in the middle of the country with rolling hills. It looks like a typical college campus. It’s a very specific property. It’s probably most appropriate for some sort of educational setting or human services purpose."

The architecture of the buildings varies from standard institutional to attractive limestone or brick structures, said Colliers Barry president James T. Barry III.

"This is like a whole college campus coming on the market," he said "It’s rather interesting. It’s just a very unique property."

The asking price for the property is $6.5 million.

The St. Coleta site is located south of U.S. Highway 18 and east of County Highway Y. It is two miles east of downtown Jefferson and seven miles south of Johnson Creek.

St. Coletta was founded 100 years ago. For decades, the campus provided a home for people with special needs. At its peak, around the late 1970s and early 1980s, about 600 people lived there. The residents included Rosemary Kennedy, the sister of former President John F. Kennedy. Rosemary, who was born mentally retarded, died earlier this year at the age of 86.

For the last 10 years, St. Coletta has been slowly reducing the population at its main Jefferson campus. Today, only 11 people live there, and the campus buildings are mostly unused.

The large Jefferson campus no longer serves St. Coletta’s needs. The organization still provides services to about 400 people with special needs, but those people now live in smaller homes or apartments that are more integrated into communities throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. St. Coletta plans to keep 500 undeveloped acres it owns on the east side of Jefferson and build a new, smaller headquarters facility there.

Despite the changes, St. Coletta’s mission remains the same.

"It’s been a huge transition," Speth said. "We don’t want people to think we are going out of business. We want to be around for the next 100 years."

Kenosha Civil War Museum

The City of Kenosha recently unveiled detailed plans for a Civil War museum to be built in the downtown HarborPark area.

The two-story, 59,000-square-foot museum will be built on 54th Street, between First and Second Avenues, north of the Kenosha Public Museum. Milwaukee-based Engberg Anderson Design Partnership is the architect for the project. The firm also designed the Kenosha Public Museum.

The new museum will cost about $11.6 million, and the exhibits will cost about $5 million. The city plans to use $14.8 million in tax incremental financing (TIF) to pay for construction of the museum and for a portion of the exhibit cost.

The rest of the exhibit cost will be paid for by private donations. Construction is expected to begin in March. The museum is scheduled to open in March of 2008.

Kenosha officials expect about 300,000 people to visit the museum each year.

Kenosha is a long way away from where the Civil War was fought. However, the Kenosha Civil War Museum will focus on the contributions to and the sacrifices made by the Upper Midwest, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Michigan, to the Civil War.

The museum will tell the personal stories of how people from the Midwest were affected by the Civil War. The museum will have a 15,000-square-foot permanent gallery, which will include digital technology that puts the museum guest into the middle of a Civil War battle. The museum also will have a veteran’s gallery honoring veterans of all wars.

A resource center where visitors can read copies of first-person accounts of life during the Civil War also will be featured. The museum will have an area for temporary exhibits, a meeting room, a gift shop, classrooms and seminar rooms.

More Kenosha news

Green Bay-based Direct Development plans to build a seven-building retail and residential development south of 56th Street and east of Third Avenue in the downtown HarborPark area. The development will have 39 condominiums, 16 town houses and 44,850 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space. The project was recently approved by the Kenosha City Council.

Chicago-based Corretti Development plans to build a 14,820-square-foot Walgreens store on a vacant lot at the southwest corner of 18th Street and 30th Avenue.


Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Corral West Ranchwear Inc. plans to open a CWR Workwear Depot store at 5659 S. 27th Street. The company has 93 Ranchwear stores, almost all of which are in the western half of the United States. However, the 29,000-square-foot Milwaukee store will be the first CWR Workwear Depot store, a new retail concept for the company. "(It will sell) a combination of work clothing, scrubs, chefs’ outfits, anything you can think of for working men and women," said Jim Lawrence, director of stores for Corral West Ranchwear. "We will be especially heavy in footwear, anything you want we should have it or we’ll be able to get it." The company may open more locations in the area if the first store is successful, Lawrence said.

The Lanier, Pleas & Hopkins Ltd. law firm recently moved its offices from 827 N. 34th St. to 1849 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. The law firm specializes in business law, civil litigation/personal injury, wills and governmental relations.


Morgan&Myers has closed its offices in downtown Milwaukee at 606 E. Wisconsin Ave. and in Jefferson, and consolidated its Wisconsin offices into a new location at N16 W23233 Stone Ridge Drive, Suite 200, Waukesha. The company is an integrated communicatons firm with offices in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. "We’re looking forward to having everybody under one roof with room to grow," said Morgan&Myers president Tim Oliver. "We believe by combining our resources, we’ll get better synergy and cross-pollination of ideas. That will mean better service for our clients."


Davenport, Iowa-based Katco Resources plans to build a 14,000-square-foot, one-story, office building at 8455 Layton Ave. for the U.S. Social Security Administration. A house on the 2.2-acre property will be demolished. The SSA will move its office from 6251 W. Forest Home Ave., Milwaukee, to the new building.

West Allis

Aldi Inc. plans to open a store at Highway 100 and Mitchell Street. The discount grocery store chain recently leased 15,372 square feet of space there from Shecterle Commercial Properties 2 LLC. The Polacheck Co. brokered the deal.

West Bend

Commerce State Bank, a newly created bank, opened recently at 508 Shepherds Drive. The bank has $12 million in assets and nine employees.


Hartland-based Black Hat Properties plans to build an 8,600-square-foot multi-tenant office building on a 1.2 acre vacant site at 1001 Cecelia Drive. Most of the building will be occupied by a salon and day spa.

Firstech owner Jeffrey Reichhoff plans to move his company from 1166 Quail Court to a new building he plans to build at 341 Forest Grove Drive. Firstech will occupy most of the 6,300-square-foot building, which will be built on a vacant 1.5 acre lot.


Memphis, Tenn.-based AutoZone Inc. will open a 7,000-square-foot store and will be the anchor tenant in a 13,000-square-foot retail center that Waukesha-based The Redmond Co. plans to build just southwest of the Walgreens store at the corner of Janesville Road and Racine Avenue.

Andrew Weiland is the managing editor of Small Business Times. Send news about commercial real estate to Andrew.weiland@biztimes.com or by calling him at (414) 277-8181 ext. 120. News can also be sent to Andrew Weiland, Small Business Times, 1123 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

– September 30, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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