Press Releases

Creative reuse turns half of former Catholic seminary in Madison into higher-end apartments

Written by Doug Erickson, Wisconsin State Journal

holy name seminary

Several years ago, leaders of the Madison Catholic Diocese realized they had a big challenge on their hands with the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, a former seminary and home to the diocesan headquarters.

The majestic but aging building on the city’s Far West Side had become costly to maintain, with only about one-third of it being used on a regular basis.

The diocese hired a developer, and today, about half of the building has been converted to private-market apartments, adding millions of dollars to the city’s tax base. The $21 million project celebrated its grand opening in August, and all 53 apartments are now occupied, ahead of expectations.

“There’s more life to the building now — more people, more activity,” said Monsignor James Bartylla, the diocese’s second-ranking official, adding that the project keeps the “legacy property” in the diocese while preserving much of its spiritual and cultural identity.

The building at 702 S. High Point Road, a few blocks south of the Beltline, opened in 1964 as Holy Name Seminary, a high school for boys interested in possibly becoming priests. The seminary closed in 1995.

The building was rechristened in 1997 as the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, honoring the founding bishop of the diocese. Its new name, Holy Name Heights, brings the site back full circle.

For apartment dwellers, it offers one of the more unusual residential settings in the city.

The diocesan headquarters remain, imbuing the building with a sense of the sacred. Tenants have 24-hour access to the building’s centerpiece, an on-site chapel with soaring stained glass windows and a 360-piece mosaic that rises three stories behind the altar. Mass is celebrated daily during the week.

For a more secular experience, there’s a full-size gym, newly restored to its retro glory. The 72-acre site offers 2.5 miles of walking paths, a running track, a baseball diamond and fields for football and soccer.

Other amenities include two interior courtyards with arched walkways, a theater room with a 100-inch screen, and a lounge with a balcony offering panoramic views of the city and state Capitol.

“It just seems so special here,” said tenant Christina Busse, 33, a stay-at-home mom who lives in a two-bedroom apartment with her husband, Phillip, 35, and their 21-month-old son, Cephas.

Broad appeal

While anyone can live at the site, diocesan officials thought the apartments might attract mostly empty nesters and Catholics. The appeal has been broader.

Busse, who is Lutheran, said she enjoys praying in the chapel and has found her neighbors to be a friendly bunch that ranges in age from young professionals to retirees. Many seem eager to make personal connections, she said.

“People seem to want relationships here,” she said.

The site appealed to the couple for its serenity, its religious aspects, and its amenities, especially the acres of outdoor space their son can explore as he grows. Their apartment is about a 10-minute drive from Epic Systems Corp., where Phillip Busse, 34, works in technical support services. Christina Busse estimated that nearly a dozen other tenants also work at the electronic medical records giant.

Among the couple’s neighbors are Paul and Kate Stauffacher, the kind of tenants diocesan officials knew would be especially drawn to the property. Retirees in their 70s, they are devout Catholics whose two sons graduated from the former seminary.

The connection for Paul Stauffacher goes even deeper. He taught and coached at the seminary early on, then went on to serve as its principal from 1978-87. His apartment is the seminary’s former weight and equipment room where he spent so much time as a coach.

“This just struck us when we saw it,” Stauffacher said. “There is a certain element of nostalgia, but it goes beyond that. We’re daily Mass attendees, so the chapel is very convenient. We love to get out and exercise on the grounds, and our grandchildren love the gym.”

For some, there’s the added appeal of occasionally bumping into Madison Bishop Robert Morlino, who recently moved into one of the new apartments. He had been living for more than a decade in the rectory at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, three blocks off the Capitol Square.

‘Uncommon’ project

The diocese, which continues to own the property, hired Gorman & Co. to redevelop the site. The company, based just south of Madison, has stayed on as the on-site manager for the apartments.

Gorman & Co. specializes in adaptive reuses of landmark buildings and has had a long association with the diocese. It successfully nominated the former seminary as a historic landmark. The building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The designation allowed the company to access $5.8 million in historic tax credits — a critical piece of the financing — and also protects the building’s architectural legacy, said CEO Gary Gorman, a lifelong Catholic who grew up in the Madison area and has served as board president of Catholic Charities Madison. The project was “uncommon” and close to his heart, Gorman said.

“It did something really positive for a diocese that I’ve been a member of for 60 years,” he said. “I’m proud of both the physical and financial results, and in particular the fact that a number of people now get to call this beautiful building their home.”

The city has determined that 46.63 percent of the building is now taxable, with the rest remaining tax-exempt due to its religious use, said Scott West, a city commercial property appraiser. The assessed value of the taxable portion is currently set at $3.43 million by the city, but that number reflects only partial completion of the project, West said. The full assessment, out this April, likely will be around $5.1 million, he said.

The diocese’s 2016 tax bill for the site is $77,532. That figure is based on only the partial assessment.

The project’s total costs of $21 million are so much higher than the city assessed value because the total costs reflect work done on the entire site, not just the part turned into apartments, said Ted Matkom, president of the Wisconsin market for Gorman & Co. The project also addressed major maintenance issues on the aging building such as roofing and plumbing, he said.

One-bedroom apartments rent for $955 to $1,285 per month, while two-bedroom units go for $1,369 to $1,970. That’s probably a little less than top-of-the-line luxury units in Madison, but in the middle to upper range, said Rick Mason, property manager.

Bartylla said the project could help other dioceses think creatively about unused or vacant properties.

“I think we’ve shown that you don’t have to sell church property when it’s underutilized,” he said. “There might be an opportunity to continue ownership while finding something that works for both the diocese and the community.”

“It did something really positive for a diocese that I’ve been a member of for 60 years. I’m proud of both the physical and financial results, and in particular the fact that a number of people now get to call this beautiful building their home.” Gary Gorman, CEO of Gorman & Co., which redeveloped the former Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center

New Life for a Madison Icon: A Celebratory Mass with Bishop Robert C. Morlino marks the groundbreaking ceremonies for the redevelopment of the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center

Gorman DOM Media Release 5-1-2015


Friday, May 01, 2015

For More Information:

Susanne Voeltz, for Gorman & Company, Inc.
(608) 284-0848
Brent King, Diocese of Madison
(608) 821-3033

New Life for a Madison Icon:

A Celebratory Mass with Bishop Robert C. Morlino marks groundbreaking ceremonies for the redevelopment of the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center

Historic renovation preserves on site chapel, maintains Diocesan offices and adds a vibrant new residential community

Madison, WI—May 1, 2015—Bishop Robert C. Morlino celebrated Mass for the feast of St. Joseph the Worker today, marking groundbreaking ceremonies for the redevelopment of the Bishop O’Connor Pastoral Center (BOC). Following the mass, Bishop Morlino, flanked by numerous priests of the diocese, unveiled and blessed a recently uncovered diocesan coat of arms, that embellishes the lobby floor of the BOC and dates from its days as Holy Name Seminary.

The former Holy Name Seminary, a neo-Colonial landmark that welcomed its first students in 1964, has served as the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center since the seminary was closed in 1995. The redevelopment plan for the BOC – which preserves its architectural and sacred legacy and ensures strategic stewardship for the 72.6 acre property – was grounded in years of due diligence and study on the part of diocesan councils, consultors, and leadership to determine the best possible outcome for the future of the aging and underutilized former seminary.

Gorman & Company has been engaged by the diocese to serve as the developer of the $21 million project and will provide architectural and design services for the redevelopment. Upon completion of the apartment component of the project in 2016, Gorman & Company will also manage the property. First Business Bank of Madison, WI is providing the financing for the milestone redevelopment.

In anticipation of today’s event, Bishop Morlino expressed his gratitude to all those who are making this project possible, saying “It is a win-win scenario, where the diocese not only retains this historic building, keeping our presence in this most visible sign of the diocese in the community, and preserving the legacy of Holy Name Seminary, but also where new life is breathed onto the campus, which has served the local Church so well. We are so grateful for the excellent cooperation of Gary Gorman and his expert and visionary team.”

To preserve its architectural integrity, the iconic landmark, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be renovated as a “certified historic rehabilitation” in compliance with historic preservation guidelines prescribed by the National Park Service. Whenever possible, the BOC’s significant historic and architectural elements will be preserved, refurbished and sensitively integrated into the renovation design.

Key components of the BOC renovation will be incorporating 53 new apartment homes, updating office space for the diocese, Catholic Charities, and affiliated Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Herald and Catholic Radio, and upgrading office and kitchen facilities for Blue Plate Catering. The project will also allow Catholic Charities of Madison to bring more of their agents under one roof.

The on-site Cletus O’Donnell Holy Name Chapel will be maintained and preserved and will continue to offer daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration during and after the BOC renovation. The chapel interior   is noted for its 360-piece mosaic, assembled in Germany, that rises three-stories behind the altar, and for its dramatic stained glass windows that were crafted in a palette of blues and pastels by the renowned Conrad Schmitt Studios.

The new residential community at the BOC, to be known as Holy Name Heights, will be comprised of 53 one and two-bedroom apartment homes that will combine contemporary living with a historic setting for a special sense of place. Units will be appointed with granite kitchen countertops and islands, stainless steel appliances, luxe plank flooring throughout, efficient cooling and heating systems, and a high speed Wi-Fi network. A guest suite will be available to rent by residents for visiting family and friends. Each unit will have an enclosed, heated parking stall and availability for bike storage as well.

Residents will have access to a host of amenities that are unique to the architectural landmark, including two interior courtyards with cloistered, arched walkways and a full size gymnasium-prime for pick-up basketball games. A wine lounge with a fireplace, stylish seating and a covered balcony offering panoramic views of the city and the Capitol, a theater room, a dance movement studio and fitness center are planned as well. The richly landscaped grounds of the BOC also feature 2.5 miles of walking trails for leisurely strolls or quick sprints.

To recognize and celebrate the BOC’s historic and cultural significance, Gorman & Company will create a dedicated space for a “History Lounge” on the lower level of the building below the chapel. In partnership with the diocese, Gorman & Company will curate a display of memorabilia and photographs chronicling the history of Holy Name Seminary. On site office tenants, residents, and visitors will have a chance to view the collection and learn about the BOC’s spiritual legacy in a warm and inviting setting.



Residents Say Goodbye to 37 Years of Flooding and Sandbags: Groundbreaking Set For New Housing Complex

Immediate Release Media Contact:
J.P. Hervis

Residents Say Goodbye to 37 Years of Flooding and Sandbags: Groundbreaking Set For New Housing Complex

Dilapidated Dade Oaks complex built on lakebed in 1977 to be knocked down and replaced with modern, energy-efficient units.

Dade City, FL – For nearly four decades it was not uncommon to see sandbags protecting the families of the Dade Oaks apartments from water entering their homes. The 69-unit housing complex was built at the bottom of a drainage basin in Dade City in 1977.

On Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 at noon, a new chapter in the lives of the residents of the 37-year-old, dilapidated complex will begin. Officials from the Pasco County Housing Authority and development firm Gorman & Company will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the Hilltop Landings Apartments construction project. Hilltop Landings will replace Dade Oaks.

The ceremony, and most importantly the new apartment complex located at 15641 14th Street in Dade City, will be less than a mile away and outside the drainage basin. Hilltop Landings will have the same floorplan as Dade Oaks, but the finished project will feature more modern, energy-efficient units. The construction is expected to take 18 months. Dade Oaks residents will move into the new complex upon its completion.

Dade Oaks eventually will be knocked down and used for stormwater retention. The funding for the Hilltop Landings Apartments includes public support from Pasco County, Florida Housing Finance Corporation and US HUD.

Interviews Available At Event Include:
• Residents (invited and expected to attend)
• David Lambert, chair of the Pasco County Housing Authority
• Hana Eskra, Florida market president of Gorman & Company, Inc.

Event Details• Groundbreaking ceremony for Hilltop Landings Apartments
• Wednesday, November 5th, 2104 at noon
• 15641 14th Street, Dade City
• Media contact: J.P. Hervis, 305.321.4293 or 561.995.6560
• On-site contact: Hana Eskra 305-668-5810

Low Income Housing Tax Credits to Help Support New Affordable Housing in Westwood Neighborhood Revitalization

For Immediate Release

Jerilynn Martinez, 303.297.7427

Hilarie Portell, 720.810.3906

Low Income Housing Tax Credits to Help Support New Affordable Housing in Westwood Neighborhood Revitalization

(DENVER) – A new affordable housing development in south west Denver’s Westwood neighborhood was awarded $915,504 in Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) by Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA). The development, Grove Street Apartments, is part of a comprehensive revitalization effort being implemented by City leaders in partnership with the Westwood community. CHFA recently announced the final round of LIHTC allocation awards for 2014, which included Grove Street Apartments, a proposed mix-use development incorporating affordable housing and a nonprofit community services organization.

“By partnering with Cities and Urban Renewal Authorities, CHFA can leverage our resources even further to help address the need for affordable housing, especially in communities like Westwood where revitalization has been prioritized,” said Cris White, CHFA executive director and CEO.

Grove Street Apartments, at 3116 West Alameda Avenue, being developed by Gorman & Company, will be a 1.3-acre, mixed-use development that will bring 42 units of much-needed affordable housing and services to the Westwood neighborhood, an Urban Renewal Area identified by the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) as blighted and in need of reinvestment. In addition to the tax credits, the $14.3 million project will include a financial contribution from DURA.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Gorman and Company, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, and the City and County of Denver by deploying DURA resources for the Grove Street Apartments. The redevelopment of this site, identified as a priority location for redevelopment in the 1990 Urban Renewal Plan, represents a significant milestone for the corridor. For over 20 years, DURA has worked with individual residential and commercial property owners to reinvest in the Westwood area,” said Tracy Huggins, DURA’s executive director.

CHFA’s allocation of federal LIHTC in Round Two will allow Grove Street Apartments to leverage $3.35 million in DURA funds that otherwise would not be available to support redevelopment in the area. These resources will be critical as 24 percent of Westwood’s families live below the poverty line, and 95 percent of the children in Westwood are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 27 percent of all of Denver’s substandard housing units are located in Westwood, and 78 percent of renter-occupied housing was built before 1980. Additionally, Westwood’s affordable housing rentals are 99.8 percent occupied with very long wait lists (up to 300 people).

“Grove Street Apartments is the kind of catalytic project we specialize in,” said Kimball Crangle, Colorado market president for Gorman & Company. “We’ll provide high quality housing and services for working individuals and families who are low income earners, helping to strengthen the economic well-being of families and transforming the community over time.” Crangle was previously a senior developer for Denver Housing Authority and led their flagship Mariposa redevelopment at 10th Avenue and Osage Street.

The development of Grove Street Apartments coincides with coordinated efforts by City Councilmember Paul López, Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration, and others to bring new investment into the Westwood neighborhood spanning housing, health care, and food access needs.

“Mayor Hancock is focused on five critical strategies for Westwood revitalization through community investment—parks/open space, youth, fresh food, affordable housing, and commercial development,” said Paul Washington, executive director of the Denver Office of Economic Development. “We are therefore so pleased to see Grove Street Apartments added to Denver’s spectrum of affordable and workforce housing, and particularly in Westwood, as one of the highest areas of concentrated poverty in the city.”

“The Grove Street Apartments development is a catalyst project for Westwood,” said City Councilman Paul López, who represents the area. “In addition to critically needed affordable housing, this mixed use development will bring job training opportunities to southwest Denver.”

The construction of Grove Street Apartments is estimated to generate $15,852,402 in economic impact and support 74 jobs. Ground breaking is expected in early fall of 2015 with an opening in fall of 2016.

About Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA)
CHFA finances the places where people live and work. Created in 1973 by the Colorado State Legislature, CHFA strengthens communities by making loans to low- and moderate- income homebuyers, affordable multifamily rental housing developers, and small and medium sized businesses. CHFA also provides education and technical assistance about affordable housing and economic development. CHFA is a self-sustaining public enterprise. CHFA issued bonds are not obligations of the state. For more information about CHFA please visit Contact our Denver office at 1.800.877.chfa (2432), or our Western Slope office at 1.800.877.8450.

About Gorman & Company, Inc.
Gorman & Company, Inc. specializes in revitalizing communities through innovative housing partnerships. As a trusted partner and respected industry leader since 1984, they specialize in downtown revitalization, the preservation of affordable housing, workforce housing and the adaptive reuse of significant historic buildings. Gorman & Company has offices in Denver, Co; Milwaukee & Madison, WI; Chicago, IL; Phoenix, AZ; and Miami, FL. Learn more at



Gracie’s Village is Fully-Accessible for the Disabled

TEMPE, AZ (November 27, 2013) – Gorman & Company, in partnership with Grace Community Church of the Valley, is proud to announce the grand opening of an affordable, mixed-use housing development on Apache Blvd along the Valley Metro light rail line, called Gracie’s Village.  

The Gracie’s Village project is a unique public/private/non-profit partnership between Gorman & Company, Grace Community Church of the Valley, the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) and the City of Tempe.  The new development includes a mix of ground floor community facilities including a brand new thrift store and three additional stories containing 50 affordable residential housing units above the store.

Gracie’s Village is solar powered and is designed to a LEED-Gold standard through its use of green building technologies.  Using a variety of Universal Design principles, the affordable rental units are fully accessible to the physically disabled.

The rental units have affordable rents ranging from $394-$606 for 1 Bedroom, $463-$717 for 2 Bedroom and $525-$818 for 3 Bedroom units and will be rented to income-eligible families earning between 40% and 60% of the county median income, or approximately $18,600 to $46,260 per year.

Specific amenities include a multi-purpose room for before and after school care, a Wi-Fi internet lounge, a roof deck, playground, picnic area, front-loading energy-efficient washers & dryers inside each unit, hard-surface flooring and electronically-controlled entry. Gracie’s Village is located at 1520 E. Apache Blvd in Tempe.

A dedication and ribbon-cutting for Gracie’s Village will take place on November 27th with an Open House and Tours to start at 4:30pm. The Ceremony and Dedication will start at 5:30pm. For more information or to attend, please contact Ron Meritt at ON Advertising at (480) 225-0722.

About Gorman & Company, Inc.

Gorman & Company, Inc. specializes in revitalizing communities through innovative housing partnerships. As a trusted partner and respected industry leader since 1984, they specialize in downtown revitalization, the preservation of affordable housing, workforce housing and the adaptive reuse of significant historic buildings.  Learn more at



Escobedo at Verde Vista is Fully Accessible for the Disabled

Mesa, AZ (December 2, 2013) – Gorman & Company, in partnership with Affordable Rental Movement (A.R.M.) of Save the Family Foundation, the West Mesa CDC and the City of Mesa are proud to announce a grand opening for the completely redeveloped Escobedo at Verde Vista Public Housing.

Escobedo at Verde Vista is a state of the art, environmentally friendly, redeveloped housing location designed to a LEED-Gold Standard through its use of building technologies.  Located at 125 E. University Drive in Mesa, Escobedo at Verde Vista will house 70 units along with a leasing office, multi-purpose building for a before and after school program, a computer lab, training center, and a museum dedicated to preserving the rich history of the location.

The units rent for $386-$562 for a 1BR, $460-$630 for a 2BR, and $525-$801 for a 3BR.  Families eligible for this location earn between 40% and 60% of the county median income, which is between $18,600 and $46,260

The amenities include hard surface flooring, dual flush toilets, low flow plumbing fixtures, artificial turf, radiant barrier sheathing and high reflectivity roofing, and high performance Energy Star windows and lighting systems.  The development will also have access to free wireless internet, picnic tables, and a playground.

A ribbon-cutting for Escobedo at Verde Vista will take place on December 4th at 4:00pm followed by a reception at Save the Family at 5:00pm.  For more information or to attend, please contact Ron Meritt at (480) 225-0722.

About Gorman & Company, Inc.

Gorman & Company, Inc. specializes in revitalizing communities through innovative housing partnerships. As a trusted partner and respected industry leader since 1984, they specialize in downtown revitalization, the preservation of affordable housing, workforce housing and the adaptive reuse of significant historic buildings.  Learn more at