Brown Deer officials agree to changes in senior living development

Project has been scaled back; apartments should be completed in 2013

Dec. 4, 2012

Brown Deer - Plans to expand the Deerwood Crossing senior living development on Brown Deer's southern end remain in motion. But details of the new addition have been tweaked.

The Village Board on Monday voted in favor of a revised development agreement with Jewish Family Services, the organization overseeing the development through its housing unit.

JFS has a full-service independent and assisted living facility at 4195 W. Bradley Road. But the organization has eyed a second phase at a 1.08-acre site at Teutonia Avenue and Bradley Road, and a 0.699-acre site on Woodale Avenue.

The addition initially carried a $2.25 million value, but the price has since been dropped to $1.625 million. Real estate firm General Capital Group has been handling the transaction of the land, which is between JFS and the village.

Steve Schnoll, a representative with General Capital Group, said the decline in valuation is attributed to a change in the plans for the addition. Details initially called for market-rate apartments, but they have since shifted to subsidized units.

"This has been extremely challenging," Schnoll said of efforts to get the project off the ground. "Financing has been difficult, but we've received underwriting and the interest rates are in place."

A variety of businesses, organizations and agencies have committed to funding the second phase with the JFS, including Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and several local banks.

Another approved change to the agreement is the timeline. While the original version, approved more than a year ago, called on construction to be completed at the end of the year, the timeline has since been pushed back to the end of 2013.

Schnoll said he anticipates construction beginning in the spring.

Also, the scope of the project has been whittled down by three units - from the originally projected 33 to 30. Schnoll said a 33-unit development would have created what he deemed "an oddly shaped building."

Deerwood Crossing is within the village's second tax-incremental financing district, and the adjustments will affect its overall balance.

But Alan Marcuvitz, who provides counsel to the Brown Deer Community Development Authority, said TIF No. 2 remains strong. It was created when other nearby senior living facilities - Bradley Manors and Algonquin Manors - were constructed.

"This is a very successful TIF in the village with positive cash flow," Marcuvitz said.

Despite the drop in valuation, Marcuvitz said he believed the Deerwood Crossing addition still remains a viable option for the property.

"No one else has come to the village with a plan of how else to use that land," he said.

TIF is a mechanism that allows municipalities to borrow money for infrastructure improvements. The increased property tax revenue from the improved land is then diverted from the tax rolls to pay off the loan.

The CDA took up the changed development agreement last week before forwarding a favorable recommendation on to the Village Board.

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