Twin Lakes Plan Commission advances concept for downtown senior housing

This is an exterior concept for a 24-unit affordable senior housing apartment building proposed for downtown Twin Lakes by developer Steve Mills.

A concept plan for a 24-unit affordable senior housing apartment building for downtown Twin Lakes received a positive recommendation from the village’s Plan Commission at a special meeting Wednesday night.

The building is being proposed by developer Steve Mills. Mills intends to apply for state senior housing credits, which if received could be sold to help finance the project, he said.

The building is proposed for a site along the south side of Main Street just east of where Burden Street is eventually going to cross Main.

Mills explained that downtown plans originally called for the building on this site to have commercial space at street level and residential above. A purely residential building was planned for other property Mills owns just to the west. But that property proved to be too small for a residential building and the current market would not support more commercial space downtown, Mills said. he now wants to move the residential building to the east of the Burden intersection and the commercial to the west. He also plans to some day build more commercial property to the east of the senior housing .

Several residents present at the meeting, and some plan commissioners too, were reluctant to let go of the concept of the mixed use development.

But Mills and his son S.R. Mills insisted that the commercial real estate market right now was such that a commercial building is not viable at this time.

“It’s not that if you build it they will come,” S.R. Mills said.

The building would have one- and two-bedroom units ranging in size from 700 to just over 1,000 square feet and range in rent from perhaps as low as $500 to as high as $675. S.R. Mills said those rents were about $100 per month below market value. The building would have underground parking, an elevator, a common area and other amenities. Despite the state role, the building property would remain taxable by the village and other local entities such as the county and school districts.

The provisions of the state tax credit program would mean the units would be reserved for people over 55 and who make less than 60 percent of the median annual salary in Kenosha County.

The proposal will now advance to the Village Board later this month.

Mills must have an application into the state for the tax credit program by Feb. 4.

Even if the tax credits are granted, the project would need much more detailed approval by the village before receiving final approval, village administrator David Cox said.

If all went well, however, S.R. Mills said he could see construction starting in August.

If Mills’ proposal is not granted the tax credits, he would not pursue the project this year, but might try again next year, Steve Mills said.

View Mills senior housing in a larger map


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