Senior apartment building gets Twin Lakes OK with commercial addition

A revised concept rendering of a proposed senior apartment building for downtown Twin Lakes with added commercial space on the ground floor.

A concept for a 24-unit senior apartment building downtown received the approval of the Twin Lakes Village Board Wednesday with the addition of commercial space on the first floor.

The vote was 5 to 0 with President Howard Skinner abstaining and Trustee Sharon Bower absent. Skinner said he abstained because his auto repair business, Skinner’s Service, is located across the street from the site of the proposed building.

The approval gives developer Mills Enterprises the green light to apply to the state for senior housing tax credits that he says are essential to the project. If the tax credits are not received, the company will not proceed with the project.

Earlier this month, Mills received a favorable recommendation for an all-residential building from the village Plan Commission. However there was extensive discussion about adding commercial space to the building if possible. Mixed use buildings are called for along Main Street in the village’s downtown plan.

S.R Mills said when company representatives approached the state about incorporating commercial space in a project vying for the tax credits they found out it would be allowed. They then redesigned the building to incorporate about 3,100 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor of the building. The same number of residential units was retained by more efficiently using space on the third floor. The building will still have underground parking for residents.

The commercial addition seemed to work with the Village Board.

“It’s what we’re looking for,” said Trustee Jeremy Knoll, who said he was against the all-residential building proposed at the Plan Commission level. “It’s a great start to something new.”

Several audience members expressed concerns about the building. Most of them live in the neighborhood just south of the proposed building, which would be located on the south side of Main Street just east of Burden Avenue (which currently does not cross Main). Some objected to the size of the building. Other expressed concerns about the building affecting water wells.

“This three-story building on Main Street is a travesty,” said Peggy Wiseman, who lives in the neighborhood just to the south and has her business located across Main Street. “I’m going to be looking at it from both ways.”

Mills Enterprises representative S.R. Mills said the application for the credits, which will be part of a competitive process, is due in early February. They expect to hear about whether they have received the credits, which will be sold to help finance the building, by April. If they get the credits, Mills would like to begin construction in August. He expected construction to take about a year.

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. 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 concept approved Wednesday included a list of conditions such as the underground parking, designating it for senior renters through a deed restriction and aesthetic concerns. Skinner added a study of the effect on nearby wells.

If the project advances, it will face more detailed approvals of all aspects.



  1. Charles Nelson says:

    Bad Idea. Concept picture shows a tree lined Main Street with many buildings, and a city type landscape backround.
    The real life backround is a tree filled hillside. Is tree removal ( anti green enviorment ) the future of TL ?

    At the present time there are no other buildings in that area, However there is a Nice chamber of commerce building with a grassy area where people can relax and enjoy the day. Is the concrete jungle the future of TL ?

    People have visited & settled in Twin Lakes to GET AWAY from the city. Will we be changing our title, from Village to City of Twin Lakes.

  2. David Cox says:

    Mr. Nelson and all West of the I readers, as you probably know, Main Street has been rebuilt in this area to the street scene depicted in the picture above. The Main Street Project was designed in accordance with the downtown redevelopment plan created as part of the Tax Increment Financing District Plan for the area, which was developed at a number of public meetings with a good deal of public input. The plan also calls for the development of the south side of Main Street with a combination of Commercial, Mixed Use, and Residential structures. While the long term plan calls for relocation of the Chamber Building and caboose to the east side of South Lake Avenue, the park will remain at this location as an important part of the this “town center.”

    The area in the background of the picture above, including the “tree filled hillside” is not planned for change by the Village. As demonstrated by the planting of 23 new and replacement trees as well as other landscaping in the downtown, the Village Board is interested in and recognizes the importance of these features. The goal of the TIF District and the Village Board is to encourage a vibrant, thriving downtown area that compliments the character of the community and facilitates its long term sustainable growth. Thanks for your interest, David Cox, Village Administrator.

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