In 2021, as part of an Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), The Alexander  Company and a team of local organizations celebrated a major victory as veterans were welcomed home to Old Main  and five other historic buildings on campus. Building on that success, the focus now shifts to the Ward Memorial Theater (Building 41), Soldiers Home Chapel (Building 12), and the Governor’s Residence (Building 39).

Under the current proposal, these three buildings will be restored to their original purpose – the service of veterans. Through another strategic partnership with the VA, this initiative extends the continuum of care for veterans residing on  the Soldiers Home grounds and in the greater Milwaukee area, demonstrating a continued commitment to those who  have served. Upon completion the three buildings will provide over 35,000 square feet of community space and  supportive services for veterans.

“Our partnership with The Alexander Company is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore three of Milwaukee’s  treasured historic buildings back to their original grandeur. The Zablocki team is extremely appreciative of the  community’s dedication in supporting our nation’s Veterans through efforts such as support for this enhanced use lease  initiative,” said James McLain, Executive Director of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center. “It is a great honor to care for  America’s heroes on these hallowed grounds, the renovation of the Chapel, Ward Theater, and Governor’s Mansion only  strengthens our dedication to excellence.”

Like the first phase, this project is also made possible through the EUL program with the VA. Through the EUL the three  buildings will be leased out long-term to The Alexander Company, who will take on the cost of rehabilitation. The law  authorizing EULs requires that the buildings be used to serve veterans. The public hearing held February 13th at the  Milwaukee VA Medical Center was one of the first steps in the redevelopment process, and the development plan will  be finalized in the coming months.

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This article was originally published by Milwaukee PBS.