New Senior Community & Church Planned for St. Rita
Three Holy Women Parish and Tarantino & Company, part of the Tarantino Family of Companies along with Capri Senior Communities, joined together on April 24th to announce St. Rita Square, a state-of-the-art senior living community on Milwaukee's Lower East Side that will include a brand new St. Rita Church. The new church - to be designed in collaboration with the Parish and the St. Rita congregation - will be sold to the Parish for $1. The new church will preserve art, stained glass and other artifacts from the current St. Rita. Three Holy Women Co-Pastor the Very Rev. Timothy L. Kitzke, V.C., said the project has already inspired a sense of community collaboration, with others starting to offer ideas and artifacts, including items from Blessed Virgin of Pompeii Church, St. Rita Church's predecessor and the centerpiece of the city's Italian-American community until it was razed to make way for freeway construction in 1967.
"One week ago, Christians around the world celebrated Easter, an important time of renewal and new beginnings," Kitzke said. "It is fitting that today, we celebrate another renewal. We as a congregation and a community have the opportunity to make the new church our own. We've had so many people come forward already to ask how they can help, to offer artwork, artifacts and ideas for making the new St. Rita truly something special. It's a community effort to create a spiritual and cultural center that will help carry St. Rita into a bright and promising future."
St. Rita Square - to be operated by Capri Senior Communities - will feature a six-story building with 72 independent living apartments, 22 assisted living apartments and 26 memory care units. The independent living floors will include indoor and outdoor concierge amenities, and the assisted living and memory care areas will offer enhanced programming and activity space and appropriate indoor and outdoor common areas that will enrich the lives of residents. St. Rita Square will also include 2,800 square feet of retail space at the corner of Pleasant and Van Buren Streets, as well as enclosed vehicle parking and indoor and outdoor parking for bicycles.
A climate-controlled walkway will connect the building to the new St. Rita Church. The church is expected to have approximately 2,600 square feet of first-floor area that includes worship space, sacristy and parish offices. A lower level will have elevator access, fellowship space and a serving kitchen. An outdoor meditation and contemplation area is planned for quiet and small group worship.
"St. Rita Square will be a vibrant addition to the Lower East Side, blending a caring environment for seniors with a neighborhood-sensitive design and retail operations that will serve the whole community," Kitzke added. "Our parish is deeply grateful to James Tarantino and Tarantino & Company for this opportunity, and to our congregation and community for rallying around it. We are excited to be part of the neighborhood's continued growth, including bringing housing services that meet a strong need in our area."
James Tarantino, founder and principal of Tarantino & Company and Capri Senior Communities, said his deep family connections to St. Rita and Our Blessed Virgin of Pompeii were part of the inspiration for St. Rita Square.
"My parents grew up in the Third Ward and attended St. Rita and the Blessed Virgin of Pompeii - like so many Sicilians, the church was central to our family's culture," he said. "So much of how our family continues to live traces its origin back to the church community, and as we've built our company and senior living communities, mission, faith and family have been a big part of that work. It's an honor to be part of the community collaboration surrounding the new St. Rita Square - working together, we will make it a wonderful blend of the old and the new as we move into the future.
Kitzke and Tarantino announced the project at a news conference at St. Rita featuring Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Ald. Nik Kovac and officials from the St. Rita Parish Council and the Italian Community Center, which has been caretaker of the Blessed Virgin of Pompeii artifacts since the church's demolition.
"What Tarantino & Company, Three Holy women, St. Rita and the Italian-American community are doing with this development reflects all that is good about our city," Barrett said. "We have an individual with strong Milwaukee roots who is not only investing and creating economic development in the neighborhood where he grew up, but he's also honoring his heritage and the church he loves. Projects like this make Milwaukee a better place."
Evan Zeppos, Laughlin Constable
To find out more about St. Rita Square when new information arrives, please contact Capri Senior Communities at (262) 798-1224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the links below for news coverage of our newest development.
Facebook Coverage of Press Conference
Milwaukee Business Journal
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
WTMJ Channel 4
WITI - Fox 6