By Annette Newcomb~Editor

The first shovel of ceremonial dirt hadn’t even been tossed yet and there were already 12 names on a waiting list for a new senior housing project now under construction in Twin Lakes.

The project, located on Main Street across from Skinner’s Automotive, is being spearheaded by commercial developers Bear Development.

S.R. Mills, son of Bear Realty founder Stephen C. Mills, said Monday that the project is moving along on schedule.

“Excavation should be done the end of November. The foundation should done by mid-December and the elevator shaft should go in January.”

Mills said the framing should be done by February and utilities will begin the same month.

“We should be under roof by April,” he said. Mills said the insulation, sprinkler systems and rough carpentry and dry wall should be completed in June.

If things go as planned a ribbon cutting ceremony should take place sometime in August.

“We are very excited about the interest the project has garnered. We have 12 or 13 already on a waiting list. I think it shows there is a need for affordable housing in the area.”

Mills said anyone interested in being placed on the waiting list should call the Silver Crest Apartments at 843-2070. That management team will be overseeing the Twin Lakes site, he said. “Eventually a dedicated line will be established but for the time being, that is the number they should call.”

The 13,500 sq. ft., 24-unit multi family/senior housing is located within the commercial zoning district in the downtown area.

There is also 5,000 sq. ft. of boutique retail space on the street level.

The building will be located on the south side of Main Street just east of Burden Avenue and have 12 one-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom units with commercial space on the first floor.

The all-masonry building will have underground parking for residents as well.

Mills said the units would be available to those 55 and older whose income is 60 percent below the county medium income. Mills said a majority of seniors would qualify.

There will be 12 one-bedroom units at about 720 sq. ft, and 12, two-bedroom units that will be a little over 1,000 sq. ft. Rent for the one-bedroom units would be between $500 and $650, depending on income and the two-bedrooms units would rent for $600 to $675 per month.

“Basically, a single person who makes less than $30,000 a year would quality for the one bedroom and to qualify for the two bedroom, income would have to be less than $45,000 per year,” Mills said.

Two people can live in the one bedroom and up to four people can live in the two bedroom. Mills said they can not mandate who lives with the qualified tenant, meaning younger family members up to the allowable number per unit could live there as well.

ACC Management Group Inc., owned by Mills, would oversee the day-to-day management of the facility.

The facility would feature a common room, fitness center, underground parking for 22 vehicles and there is a laundry in each unit. There will also be a barber/beauty shop and locked storage units. High speed Internet would be offered free of charge.

In a January 2011, Twin Lakes Village Board meeting, Stephen Mills had estimated the development would bring in about $50,000 in property tax.

At that meeting he said, “There will be a deed restriction keeping it 55 and over. “We will jeopardize the tax credits if this is violated…it’s a significant liability on the developer’s side… .”

Mills said by law the development must operate as affordable housing for 30 years. “It will be deed restricted so it remain as senior living…there is no bait and switch here.”

After 15 years the tax credit is gone then Mills will own the building outright.

Bear Development received financial backing through WHEDA (Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority).

WHEDA programs fundamentally do not rely on tax dollars. Instead, proceeds from the sale of revenue bonds allow them to fund financing programs that help stimulate affordable housing and economic development throughout the state.