Developer interested in building 70-unit senior home in Andover

by Eric Hagen
Staff Writer

A developer may be interested in bringing another senior housing project to the city of Andover.

The Andover Economic Development Authority (EDA) during its Dec. 20, 2010 meeting reviewed a concept plan for a three-story, 71-unit facility that would be located at the southeast corner of Hummingbird Street N.W. and 155th Lane N.W. within the Grey Oaks neighborhood. The preliminary facility plan includes 42 one-bedroom assisted living units, seven two-bedroom assisted living care units, 14 studio memory care units, six one-bedroom independent care units and two two-bedroom independent care units.

Besides the residential units, other amenities would include a community room and wellness facility, a coffee shop, private dining room, salon, a spa, laundry room, media center and library, a facility owned van for transportation and social programming options.

The site would be three acres while the gross building area is proposed to be 74,569 square feet. The plans were developed by Trident Development, LLC and Tealwood Management, LLC. Lyon Contracting and Development, Inc. would be responsible for constructing the building while Tealwood would be the operations managers.

Community Development Director David Carlberg told the Anoka County Union that the developers have informed him that an official application would be made with the city within the new few weeks. After receiving the application, city staff and then the Andover EDA would review the proposal, which may include a request for tax increment financing (TIF) assistance.

The Dec. 20 meeting was the first time the EDA had discussed this project. Nobody from the development or management group attended. Councilmember Tony Howard talked about wanting to see upgraded building materials used and plenty of landscaping, while Councilmember Julie Trude said having plenty of parking for guests would be important.

However, the main purpose of the meeting was to gauge whether the EDA was interested in the concept of the project and if it would be willing to consider TIF assistance. Nobody completely rejected the concept.

Howard said he put his dad in a senior home about six months ago and he found out there is a big need for this type of senior housing.

“Most of these people that go into them want to stay in the community that they lived in,” said City Administrator Jim Dickinson.

Dickinson briefed the EDA on how the financial assistance would likely work should it choose to become involved after an official application is made. He said it would likely be a pay as you go TIF subsidy. The city subsidy would essentially come out of the taxes paid on the property, so the city subsidy would only come if taxes are paid.

According to Dickinson, the city subsidy could help fill a funding gap, lower the developer’s interest rates and bring in more investors.

Besides the city staff’s internal review, Dickinson said the city’s bond counsel and financial adviser Ehlers and Associates would review the project and financial assistance request and compare it to industry standards. This way there is an outside review of the project.

Dickinson said these reviews are at the developer’s expense through an escrow it must supply when submitting the application for financial assistance.

Because this three-story unit, if approved, would be next to other homes, the EDA said landscaping and the appearance of the building as well as traffic would be an important factors to review.

Trude said even if many of the residents of this unit don’t drive, family and friends would be driving to visit them and The Farmstead senior living facility has had parking shortages at times.

Councilmember Sheri Bukkila has no problem with the concept, especially because nothing is there right now.

The site had been planned for a gas station or office building, according to Carlberg.

“If we can get something respectful that’s an asset to the community, that’s all the better,” Bukkila said. “Later on in the process we can nickel and dime on the appearance through the PUD process.”

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]