Gorman & Co. Inc.’s plan to build a combined library and senior-housing development on Villard Avenue gained unanimous approval from the Milwaukee Plan Commission on Monday.
The project would offer 12,000 square feet of first floor space for a Milwaukee Public Library branch. The four-story building would have 47 apartments on the upper floors for low-income senior residents who are the primary or secondary caretakers of children. Gorman & Co., Oregon, would develop the building in partnership with Milwaukee-based Northwest Side Community Development Corp., which owns the project site.
Milwaukee Public Library owns a 15,000-square-foot building on Villard Avenue but determined it would cost more than $700,000 just to fix the building’s heating and air-conditioning system. It will be cheaper for the library to avoid the cost of maintaining its old building by becoming a tenant in the new project, said Library Director Paula Kiely.
Alderman Ashanti Hamilton said the project is the cornerstone for more widespread redevelopment along Villard in his district. He said the old Villard library has been on the budgetary chopping block for years, and the new development means the neighborhood will have a local library.
Monday’s approval from the Plan Commission sends the project to the Milwaukee Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee for consideration July 21.