The premier building filled with independent living
units would be located just off
West Wisconsin Avenue facing the lake.
PEWAUKEE — The Plan Commission
voted unanimously to table Capri Community’s plans to redevelop St.
Mary’s Church after nearly two hours of public comments at a
Thursday night meeting. Queen of Apostles Church, which owns St.
Mary’s Church, has an offer to sell the
449 W. Wisconsin Avenue
property to Capri Communities. The approximately $35.5 million
project would transform the 16-acre parcel into a senior living
facility for people ages 55 and older.
Capri sought an amendment to Pewaukee’s land use plan to change
multiple areas within the property from the single-family
residential to the institutional designation. The developer also
requested those properties be rezoned from single-family residential
to institutional. A certified survey map was submitted requesting
select properties be consolidated as well.
Plan commissioners struggled to reach a verdict on Capri’s request to
amend Pewaukee’s land use plan after village staff raised questions
on how the development would impact the village’s infrastructure.
The subsequent discussion between commissioners pertained to how the
development would impact stormwater systems, roads and utilities in
“Looking more so at the village engineer’s concerns, until we know
what’s going on there, I have major concerns with stormwater,
traffic and everything else,” said Commissioner Jim Grabowski.
Capri’s plans indicate the church and school would be torn down to
make way for 147 independent living apartments spread across four
buildings that would be three-and four-stories tall. There would
also be 13 single-story duplex cottages as well as 26 memory care
units located in a single-story building, according to the site
However, portions of St. Mary’s Church, including the front facade
and steeple, will be implemented in the church memorial design.
Constructed using materials from St. Mary’s Church, the memorial
church would be an open air, four-wall structure.
The entrance to the site is on High Street with two more entrances
to the development on West Wisconsin Avenue, according to the site
plan. The developers would break ground on the project by early 2020
with the development completed by 2022.
The church memorial would be located just northeast of where St.
Mary’s Church is located now and just east of the cemetery on the
property. The cemetery would become enclosed by ornate fencing and
improved with landscaping, said Jim Tarantino, founder and principal
of Capri Communities. The memorial church and garden would be open
to the public, he added.
“The origin of what we’re trying to do is continue the church
building itself as a place of prayer and entry point to the cemetery
where people can gather, pray and hopefully find some peace,”
Tarantino told a Freeman reporter in a previous interview.
Town of Delafield
resident Diann Wick and Hartland resident Darlene Kelly
wave “Save St. Mary’s Church” signs at cars as they pass
through the Main Street and Meadowbrook Road
Residents weigh in
Residents who are opposed to the project have attended
every single meeting since January to express their
concerns with the development and Thursday night’s
meeting was no exception.
Multiple residents called the development “inharmonious”
within the context of single-family home neighborhood
surrounding the property and cited an increase in
traffic and devaluation of properties as major concerns.
“A high-density development in a low-density
neighborhood is not compatible,” Darlene Kelly said. “It
will change the fabric of the neighborhood and the
However, several Queen of Apostles parishioners also
spoke to the parish’s need to sell the property to
fulfill its financial obligations in order to spread its
“I’ve been a member of both parishes and I love our
churches,” said Pewaukee resident Mic Pietrykowski. “And
it was a wonderful church, but it has passed its time
and we cannot afford to keep it.”
Queen of Apostles parishioner Tom Pipines said he
respects all of the effort Pewaukee residents have put
forth to save the church. However, Pipines reminded the
audience that a “a church is more than a building, it’s
the people,” he said.
Pipines also spoke to Queen of Apostles limited options
with the property.
“The bottom line is that Queen of Apostles Church needs
money to continue to operate effectively,” Pipines said.
“And the Capri development will make that possible.”
As commissioners wavered on a decision, Commissioner Joe
Zompa reminded the commission and the audience that 449
W. Wisconsin Avenue is a complex property involving a
cemetery that cannot be disturbed as well as uneven
Zompa said Capri’s proposal is one solution for the
property, but if the commission denies this development,
then they’ll have to work to draw interest from other
“If you’re not careful, this could be an unused property
for decades,” Zompa said. “Let’s say the village wants
to see single-family homes, you’ve got to create an
incentive package to offset the property’s