Madison

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

Celebrating continuity and new beginnings with redevelopment project

Celebrating continuity and new beginnings with redevelopment project, Madison Catholic Herald, May 1, 2015

Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff

Friday, May. 01, 2015 — 3:28 PM

It’s time to celebrate both continuity and new beginnings, said Bishop Robert C. Morlino as he presided at a Mass and groundbreaking ceremonies for the redevelopment of the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center (BOC) on May 1.

After Holy Name Seminary closed in 1995, the building was renovated as a diocesan center and renamed the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center in 1998. The redevelopment of the BOC will maintain diocesan offices, the center’s chapel, and other historic features while adding a vibrant new residential community. Gorman & Company has been engaged by the Diocese of Madison to serve as the developer of the $21 million project and will provide architectural and design services for the redevelopment.

Appropriately, the Mass and groundbreaking ceremonies were held on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. “We’re doing quite a bit of work here,” said Bishop Morlino, who noted that construction work at the BOC began about a month ago. “We’re doing quite well in the hopes that we will see the fruits of this work in due time.”

Caring about vocations

Following the Mass, Bishop Morlino unveiled and blessed a recently uncovered diocesan coat of arms on the lobby floor, which dates back to when the building was Holy Name Seminary.  Bishop  Morlino observed that Holy Name Seminary was a sign that the priests and people of the diocese cared about vocations. Unveiling the diocesan crest, he said, “will be a reminder of the wonderful history of the diocese and all the good work of Holy Name Seminary.”

The bishop acknowledged that while times change, “We care every bit as much for vocations today. Through many prayers, we have 33 seminarians and we’re doing well in our fund-raising efforts to support them.”

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

MEDIA RELEASE

Friday, May 01, 2015

For More Information:

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

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.

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Grocery store, affordable housing in the works for east Madison’s Union Corners

BRYNA GODAR | The Capital Times | bgodar@madison.com

After months of planning and repeated delays, pieces of Gorman & Co.’s Union Corners project are starting to fall into place.

The project combines a UW Health Clinic, affordable housing and retail on the vacant two-block site along East Washington Avenue, Milwaukee Street and Winnebago Street.

The city approved the medical clinic in early October and the City Council allocated tentative funding for the residential piece in early December. The developer has mentioned potential grocery tenants in neighborhood meetings on the project.

Although the final residential plans have yet to be approved, the developer has proposed two mixed-use buildings, consisting primarily of affordable housing.

In December, the City Council approved the allocation of up to $3 million to assist Union Corners along with two other affordable housing projects: Maple Grove Commons and Tennyson Ridge. All three will be applying for tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and pre-determined city assistance can aid in that process. The final dollar amounts will be worked out in January.

The Union Corners project will include a total of 90 units, 14 going at market rate and 76 marked as affordable with a range of one to three bedrooms. The majority of the affordable units will target those making 60 percent or less of the area median income, with some targeting those making 20 percent or less.

There will be underground parking and retail on the ground floor of each building, which front Winnebago Street.

Gorman & Co. has also said it is working to bring a grocery store to the development, possibly Fresh Thyme Farmers Market.

The overall project and its components have drawn mixed reactions and desires from the neighbors, including conversations about what “affordable” means and what the buildings will look like.

A second neighborhood meeting on the project will take place Thursday, Jan. 8, 5 p.m. at the Goodman Community Center. The Gorman & Co. team will discuss updates on the proposed building design and the WHEDA application for tax credits.

The construction dates for the project have repeatedly been pushed back and groundbreaking on the residential component is now slated for January 2016 if financing goes through.

Madison Catholic Diocese significantly alters plan to convert headquarters into housing

June 08, 2014 5:30 am  •  By Doug Erickson | Wisconsin State Journal

Officials with the Madison Catholic Diocese are moving forward with plans to redevelop the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, their historic headquarters, though the plan has changed significantly from the one announced last fall.

The new concept calls for a mixed-use development, not solely rental housing. The diocese will keep all of its offices at the site — not vacate the premises as originally planned — co-existing with 54 apartments.

In another big change, diocesan officials said they now assume the building will remain tax-exempt. Last fall, they said the redeveloped building would pay property taxes.

The site is on Madison’s Far West Side at 702 S. High Point Road.

The apartments and other housing amenities are now expected to take up about two-thirds of the building instead of the whole thing. The housing will be marketed more pointedly to empty-nesters and those 50 and older, including those looking for housing with religious amenities.

The old plan would have stripped the building of its religious uses — the chapel was to have become a lounge, for instance. Now the chapel will remain and continue to host diocesan functions such as the weekday noon Mass.

As with the previous proposal, Gorman & Company Inc., a real estate development company with deep connections to the diocese, will execute the plan under a long-term lease agreement with the diocese, said Monsignor James Bartylla, the diocese’s second in command. The company will secure financing, design the housing, oversee construction and manage the property, he said.

Ted Matkom, who oversees Gorman’s Wisconsin projects, said he anticipates construction starting in November, with a total project cost of about $16 million. Occupancy likely will begin in late 2015, he said.

Matkom said the changes in the proposal came about after his company got more into the details of the process.

Initially, the plan called for about 90 apartments. But some areas of the building did not lend themselves to an easy conversion into living space, upping construction costs. “The inefficiencies would have put the rents at the very top of the Madison market,” he said.

Also, the company kept butting up against a desire — their own and that of others — to retain what makes the building so treasured to so many: its Catholic identity. “We decided, why not capitalize on the iconic history of the building while also helping the diocese by allowing it to stay here?” Matkom said.

There’s a financial benefit to the project by taking that approach, he said. Even though the diocese will remain the owner of the property, it will pay office rent to a new limited-liability company that will be formed to redevelop the building, thus anchoring the project’s economic stability, he said. The diocese will be a partner in the new company.

“To complete the loop, the great part is that the diocese’s rent will be reimbursed from the cash flow generated by the apartments,” Matkom said.

The financial arrangement is complicated, Bartylla said, but another way to look at it is that the diocese will be leasing the property to Gorman while also being a tenant of the project and benefiting from the income it generates.

As for the property remaining tax-exempt, Matkom said his company assumes the project will qualify under existing state statutes covering “affordable benevolent apartments.” The apartments will rent for market rates.

In addition to Bishop Robert Morlino and his staff remaining at the O’Connor Center, all affiliated Catholic organizations currently there also will stay put, including Catholic Charities, the Catholic Herald newspaper and Relevant Radio, a Catholic station.

Those and other diocesan uses take up only about 36 percent of the 232,000-square-foot building. Increasing the diocese’s cash flow by finding a way to use underutilized areas was the initial impetus for the redevelopment project.

As with the previous proposal, outside organizations that use the site as a conference center and meeting space still will need to find another home, Bartylla said.

Diocesan staff members were told Friday morning they will be staying at the O’Connor Center. “There were a lot of happy faces at that meeting,” said Brent King, diocesan spokesman.

The O’Connor Center was first known as Holy Name Seminary, opening to students in 1964. The seminary closed in 1995.

On Friday, Monsignor Mike Burke, pastor of St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Madison and the last rector to serve the seminary, said he was thrilled that religious functions would remain at the center.

“This has always been sacred space — there’s a sense of peace people get when they walk in these doors,” he said of the center. “Preserving the tradition of this building is going to create tremendous positive energy in the diocese.”

City presses Gorman on Union Corners building design

By Mike Ivey, Capital Times, May 11, 2014

Union Corners, one of the most anticipated redevelopments in recent memory, will get a review by the Madison Plan Commission Monday night.

Developer Gorman & Co. recently made some significant changes to its plan for the long-vacant site, including moving the UW Health clinic off of the corner of East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street.

Rather than anchoring the high-profile corner, the $20 million, two-story clinic building is now shown at the corner of East Wash and Sixth Street. Instead of the clinic, the new plan shows a pair of four- to six-story mixed-use buildings fronting East Wash and Milwaukee Street.

Those changes were applauded by nearby residents and the Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara neighborhood group.

But city planners in a new report are emphasizing that any new buildings must be well-designed and attractive.

“Perhaps the most important factor to be considered during the review …. will be the architectural treatment of the individual buildings across the site,” writes city planner Tim Parks.

Moreover, since the project will serve as something of a gateway into the downtown, new buildings must contain “significant visual interest” from both East Wash and Milwaukee Street, Parks adds.

That means hiding garage doors, trash enclosures and loading docks while requiring building facades be “well articulated, porous and highly activated.”

The updated plan from Gorman does place most of the surface parking behind the buildings to make it less visible from the street; reduces the height of two apartment buildings at the back of the site and includes two pedestrian walkways through the middle of the 11.5-acre site.

Gorman & Co. says it now hopes to break ground in the fall if all the approvals are in place by that point.

Also Monday, the commission will consider final plans from developer Jim Stopple for a 12-story 115-unit apartment at 617 N. Segoe Road behind the Hilldale Shopping Center.

That project has faced strong opposition from owners in the luxury Weston Place condos next door, who say the apartment contains too many units and is out of scale with the rest of the neighborhood.

City planning staff is recommending approval of the project in a report but urges the commission to carefully weigh comments during the public hearing Monday.

“Although the proposed project is large, and large on its site, the Planning Division believes it may be possible to find the applicable standards are met,” writes city planner Kevin Firchow.

The Plan Commission hearing begins at 6 p.m. in Room 201 of the City County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Fill in the two big blanks on Madison’s East Side

Wisconsin State Journal Editorial, May 11, 2014

Finally, it appears, two conspicuously barren sites on Madison’s East Side will be transformed into thriving developments.

Let’s get these needed projects — Union Corners and Royster Corners — to the finish line at City Hall. They’ll be great for their neighborhoods, with amenities such as grocery stores and a library. And they’ll help grow the tax base, which pays for city services.

Union Corners is a major mixed-use project at the busy intersection of East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street. It’s been frustratingly dormant for about a decade. But revised plans and strong neighborhood support have opened the way to key city approvals this month.

Gorman & Co.’s $83 million proposal for the 11.4-acre site would include a health clinic and buildings of four to six stories with a grocery store and restaurant, housing and a pedestrian path.

Previous attempts to revitalize this prominent site stalled and failed, leaving a glaring blotch of blight in the East Washington streetscape to Downtown.

Ald. Marsha Rummel, who represents the area, said last week Gorman’s latest revision has “all the right pieces” with “overwhelmingly positive” response at a neighborhood meeting. That’s the most encouraging news for the area in years.

The other open urban space that badly needs filling is Royster Corners, the 28-acre site of a former fertilizer plant at the corner of Cottage Grove and Dempsey roads. The site has been flattened and cleaned, with the city hoping to build roads this summer.

Apartments that are part of the project just got tax credits that should allow construction to begin this fall. Other pieces of the larger plan include a new Pinney branch library, single-family homes, commercial space and possibly a Willy Street Co-op grocery.

The city hasn’t signed off on everything yet. But Ald. David Ahrens, who represents the area, is “terrifically” supportive and doesn’t see any difficult obstacles ahead.

“Once it’s done,” Ahrens said Wednesday, “it will be just a huge center. We really don’t have many opportunities like this.”

He’s right. These two projects have been talked about for too long. It’s time to break ground.

Gorman revises plans for Union Corners project

By Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal, April 30, 2014

In response to concerns, Gorman & Co. has made major changes and won neighborhood support for the long-stalled Union Corners project on the East Side, opening the way to key city approvals next month.

Gorman, chosen to develop the city-owned, 11.4-acre site in late 2012, relocated a proposed two-story UW Health clinic from the gateway corner of East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street to East Washington and Sixth Street, with the gateway now anchored by a pair of four- to six-story mixed-use buildings that may include a Fresh Thyme grocery store.

The neighborhood wanted the taller, more substantial buildings at the gateway of the $83 million, multiphase redevelopment.

Also, revised plans add underground parking, cut the height of two apartment buildings near existing single-family homes, and create a pedestrian walkway through the center of the property.

“I’m really encouraged now,” Gary Gorman said. “It’s been a long haul. Frankly, it’s been a little frustrating at times. But it’s a project that’s going to be here for a long time.”

After much effort, “I think it’s got all the right pieces,” said Ald. Marsha Rummel, 2nd District, adding that the new plans got an “overwhelmingly positive” response at a neighborhood meeting last Thursday.

The city has been awaiting a project for a decade. McGrath Associates, the former property owner, proposed a major mixed-use project in 2004 that won broad support from city officials and residents but stalled in June 2007.

The city acquired the site in late 2010and chose Gorman to develop it two years later. In October 2013, the city and Gorman signed a deal under which the city would sell the property for $1 to Gorman, who would repay the city’s $6 million investment in land and public improvements through higher property taxes generated by the project.

In January, Gorman offered poorly received plans for a less-dense development with more parking lots, less public space, the two-story UW Health clinic at the gateway corner and four-story apartment buildings near the single-family homes.

But Gorman continued to work with the mayor’s office, city staff and the neighborhood to produce the latest plans, with the key breakthrough coming when UW Health agreed to relocate the clinic from the gateway corner. Gorman also credited Mayor Paul Soglin for “injecting urgency in the process.”

The project is broken into four phases, the first the two-story, 60,000-square-foot clinic. The second piece features a four- to six-story mixed-use building at the gateway corner with a grocery store and a restaurant down Milwaukee Street and a four- to six-story mixed-use building down East Washington Avenue. A town square behind those buildings could be used for farmers’ markets or other neighborhood events, Gorman said.

Additional phases include a transit hub, two mixed-use buildings with first-floor retail and housing along the pedestrian path, and four apartment buildings. Overall, two-thirds of parking would be underground.Gorman said he’s unsure if city financial support would be needed for underground parking for the grocery.

The plans will be considered by the Urban Design Commission on May 5, the Plan Commission on May 12 and the City Council on May 20.