Milwaukee Soldiers Homes To Be Rehabilitated, Rehabilitate

Yesterday, Save The Soldiers Home, a partnership between The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, made an announcement that will have a great impact on the Milwaukee community. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has selected a local team's proposal to rehabilitate and restore six of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home District's unused buildings for their original purpose - the service of veterans. The six buildings will be turned into 100 housing units with supportive services for veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

I can't say how much I love the fact that this will be a double rehabilitative effort - both on the buildings and then their use to rehome and rehabilitate veterans. It's a one-two punch to improve Milwaukee. It's always a shame to lose historic buildings and this effort will keep these with such a rich background. They will also provide a much needed service, without having to build new structures.

A team led by The Alexander Company, of Madison, and the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee will lead the renovation. The buildings include Old Main (Building 2), the most prominent and recognizable building on the campus, the Administration Building (Building 1), the Catholic Chaplain's Quarters (Building 14) and three duplexes (Buildings 18, 19 and 62).

The project is made possible through a long-term Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) agreement with the VA. Through the EUL, the buildings will be leased out long term to The Alexander Company, who will take on the cost of rehabilitation. Other local project partners include: 
  • Center for Veterans Issues: Supportive Resident Service Provider
  • Uihlein Wilson Architects, the Architect for Old Main (Building 2) and the duplexes (Buildings 14, 18, 19 and 62)
  • Beyer Construction: General Contractor
  • Quorum Architects, the Architect for the Administration Building (Building 1)

The VA took advantage of the Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) option as the most promising way to restore and return these unused buildings to the service of veterans.The Milwaukee Soldiers Home District is recognized as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and was recognized as one of the National Trust's 11 Most Endangered Places in 2011, initiated by the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance.

Click here for more information about the project. 

Again, we applaud the efforts of all involved to honor veterans' past and present, restore part of Milwaukee and national history, and provide much needed service for those that have served our country.


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