Annual Review 2019
  • Project Name St. Rita Square – A Capri Community and St. Rita Church
  • Location Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Owner St. Rita Property, LLC
  • Developer Capri Senior Communities
  • Architect AG Architecture

Through a longstanding relationship with the Catholic Diocese, Capri Senior Communities purchased the aging St. Rita Church campus, which included a vacant school and adjacent convent, for one dollar. In return, Capri agreed to rebuild the church along with a senior living facility, and then sell the new church back to the Diocese for one dollar. 

With its rich history, this project is as much about maintaining a connection to the past as it is bringing it forward into the future. St. Rita is deeply rooted in Milwaukee’s Italian-American community, with many parishioners coming from the Blessed Virgin of Pompeii Church, which closed more than 50 years ago. While St. Rita is thriving, the building had become costly to maintain and presented accessibility issues for the aging portion of the congregation.

"We're not just building a building.
There's a story we have to preserve."

Wayne Wiertzema, Senior Vice President, Capri Senior Communities

The new St. Rita Square apartments will offer independent living, assisted living and memory care - known as the continuum of care.

St. Rita Square’s urban location enables baby boomers the opportunity for state-of-the-art living with walkability to local restaurants, shops and entertainment, along with a wide variety of ways to get connected to the community. St. Rita Square will maintain connections to the church and neighboring school through various intergenerational and socially responsible programs.

"For Capri, it’s about building bridges. We have a synergistic relationship with the church and want to maintain that direct connection. We’ll open the door that connects the two buildings and share our amenity spaces.”

Amy Schoenemann, Director, Real Estate Development at Capri Senior Communities

Pepper integrated church artifacts into the new construction using the latest technology. Artisans salvaged and restored the stained glass and other artifacts.

The original bell from Blessed Virgin of Pompeii Church was also refurbished to adorn St. Rita Church. Pepper 3‐D laser scanned the bell so the architect could accurately design the new bell tower, ensuring the structure was the correct size and able to support the bell’s weight.

Atop the cathedral sits a restored bronze statue of the archangel Gabriel, honoring the church's heritage and St. Rita's new beginning. Sculpted in 1904 by Italian artist Gaetano Trentanove, the statue is a gift from the Blessed Virgin of Pompeii Church.

St. Rita video

A true community project, students from Cass Street School, a Milwaukee Public School (MPS), have been watching progress from next door – and getting involved! Through the school’s STEAM program, students joined the construction team on-site to learn about construction and the technology used in the building process. Students even got to weigh in on the interior design of a senior apartment.