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Senior complex proposed for former restaurant site

Development includes 104 apartments

May 23, 2012

Shorewood - Preliminary plans for a senior living facility are moving forward in the village.

The Plan Commission on Tuesday heard a presentation from representatives of Illinois-based Pathway Senior Living. The company is proposing a 104-unit development at the site of the former Pig 'n Whistle and Riverbrook restaurants, 1111 E. Capitol Drive.

According to details outlined in Pathway's plans, the development is to encompass 56 assisted living units and 48 units offering memory care services. There would be two connected buildings standing as high as four stories.

If plans proceed, the Pathway development would replace the ill-fated Sunrise Senior Living development proposed in 2008. Sunrise pulled out of the project as the economy soured.

In technical terms, Pathway representatives need to attain a planned development district designation for the site. The Village Board also will need to approve a zoning change to accommodate the development.

Bob Helle, principal of Pathway, said the company operates 13 assisted living facilities, including one in Green Bay. Pathway has a strong presence in the Chicago market.

"We've been looking to break out of our Chicago base and have been looking at the Wisconsin market," Helle said. "We think Shorewood will be an ideal fit because it's a multigenerational community."

With the preliminary meeting accomplished, Pathway officials are now tasked with drawing up finite plans that will be brought back to commissioners for further review at a later date.

While the former restaurant site has been razed, the apartment buildings directly to the south of the parcel are still awaiting the wrecking ball. Pathway likely would occupy most of that land.

If plans move forward, the western gateway into the community could be dramatically altered, with Sherburn Place being relocated from its current configuration to the west, closer to the Milwaukee River.

"This site is not made for a cookie-cutter type of development," Village Manager Chris Swartz said.

Overall, commissioners favored Pathway's plans during the preliminary meeting, which was considered a pre-petition conference. Members asked a few questions about stormwater management, landscaping, fencing and parking, and more details about each component of the plan are expected to surface in the coming months.

While few - if any - of the prospective tenants at the Pathway facility would have a vehicle, Trustee Michael Maher said he would like greater detail about parking plans, primarily for visitors, in an effort to alleviate any snafus.

"It would be helpful for us to have some sort of quantification," said Maher, who sits on the Plan Commission.

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