Article courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Construction has begun on the Caroline Heights Apartments, an Elm Grove redevelopment that will bring 237 apartment units and 21 single-family homes to the former School Sisters of Notre Dame campus.
Ground broke in early September, more than three years after developer Mandel Group Inc. announced plans to redevelop the 30-acre campus. The project was a highly debated topic among residents and village trustees before Mandel got the green light to begin construction last year. High interest rates caused delays, said senior development associate Dan Romnek.
Initial construction for the apartments includes the extension of a Lake Michigan water main from Wauwatosa to the site at 13105 Watertown Plank Road and into downtown Elm Grove. The Mandel Group will convert the historic buildings of Notre Dame Hall and Maria Hall into 35 apartments. Then, the developer plans to build three new buildings to house 202 apartments.
Romnek said the 237-unit complex was designed with a certain demographic in mind: adults looking to make a move without leaving the community they raised their families in.
“We’re trying to meet the demand that we’ve seen sort of explode over the last 10 or 15 years of empty nesters choosing to live in an apartment as opposed to staying in the single-family home as long as they can,” Romnek said.
Apartment sizes will average about 1,300 square feet, according to Romnek, with one-bedroom leases starting around $2,000 and three-bedroom leases starting at $3,600.
Residents will have access to underground parking, a heated pool and sun deck, fire pits, outdoor park, private courtyards, pet spa, fitness studio, golf simulator, car wash station and electric vehicle charging stations.
The first tenants can move in starting in November 2024, but the Mandel Group said construction on the entire campus will finish in the early spring of 2025.
While the apartments aren’t up for lease yet, Romnek said he gets calls about the property four to five times a week, and his team has a list of over 100 names of people who have expressed interest in the apartments.
Once the Mandel Group installs the utilities on the eastern and southern portions of the campus, Hartland-based Miller Marriott Construction Company will purchase those buildings to develop 21 single-family homes.
The Caroline Heights Apartment redevelopment sparked debates by residents and village officials before construction was approved last year. Mandel revised its TIF, or Tax Increment Financing, request in 2022 after it was decided it would be required to pay for the water main rather than the village of Elm Grove.
At the time, the Mandel Group’s TIF proposal to fund the redevelopment and water main extension was the “biggest TIF request Elm Grove has ever received,” Trustee Kristina Sayas said in a statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in March 2022. Sayas cast the only vote against the certified survey map, conditional use permit and the rezoning for the development.