Six historic buildings at the former Milwaukee Soldiers Home grounds will be redeveloped into around 100 apartments for veterans and their families under a $40 million proposal announced Thursday.
The buildings are on or near Mitchell Blvd., between I-94 and W. National Ave., on the grounds of the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center. They include Old Main, the Soldiers Home completed in 1869, and other historic buildings that are unused and in danger of falling apart.
The Soldiers Home grounds were declared a national historic landmark by the National Park Service in 2011, with the National Trust for Historic Preservation adding the buildings to its list of most endangered historic places.
Since then, the VA has repaired Old Main’s roof and made repairs to other buildings. But public funds to fully restore the buildings weren’t available.
Thursday’s announcement amounts to “a turning point” in efforts to restore Old Main and the other buildings, said Genell Scheurell, senior field officer for the trust.
“It would have been a great tragedy not to find a good use for the buildings,” said Robert Cocroft, a retired brigadier general and president of the Center for Veterans Issues.