Anoka finalizes agreement for land sale to VOA

Anoka has finalized a purchase agreement to sell more than 4 acres of city-owned property to Volunteers of America.Anoka VOA

The sale will allow VOA to expand into a second phase of The Homestead at Anoka, a mix of independent and assisted living housing, as well as an onsite nursing home.

Anoka will sell the 4.3 acres to VOA for $801,000 as part of a larger deal that includes the city purchasing the old Anoka Care Center on Madison Street, as well as a house on Johnson Street from VOA. The nursing home will be demolished and redeveloped as four single family lots. The house on Johnson Street will be sold as-is, according to Economic Development Manager Erik Thorvig.

The Homestead at Anoka is full, just one year after opening.

“We have had great experience with the fill-up of this project,” said Wayne Olson, senior vice president of health care services for VOA. “Our pro forma said 12 months, and it was 12 months and one day.”

The nursing home filled to capacity almost immediately with the transfer of 80 residents from the old site.

The second phase of the expansion will include 50 to 70 senior housing units, along with 18 memory care beds.

The expansion will be a $15 to $20 million investment, in addition to the $32 million spent on the first phase of the project.

The housing will be targeted to an independent senior, rather than a senior who needs care services, according to Olson.

As part of the deal, VOA will also contribute more than $186,000 toward the construction of a new street to connect Grant Avenue and Garfield Street. That funding is based on what it would have cost VOA to build a private road on its property, Thorvig said.

The city plans to close on the sale of the property this summer with a ground breaking planned for October.

“When we talked about this … we promised a state of the art facility that would truly be an exceptional facility in the state of Minnesota, and I think we have delivered on that so far,” Olson said.

“We can set a standard for senior retirement in the area.”

The project has been strongly supported by the Anoka City Council.

“The beauty of this setup is really that when someone moves in they can progressively add services throughout their lifetime and stay without moving, and I think that it’s a wonderful idea and a great option,” said Mayor Phil Rice.

Housing options that range from independent living to nursing home and memory care allow seniors to “age in place,” Olson said.

VOA also has an option to purchase another adjacent parcel of land for further expansion.

It is holding the third piece of property to build  housing options for lower-income seniors, but government Housing and Urban Development support has gone unfunded for more than two years.

“We really want it to be that anyone in the community who would want to retire at this location would have that option,” Olson said.

The VOA continues to search for solutions.

“If we get creative enough, we may come back and pitch some ideas to you in the future,” Olson told the council.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]

  • RegularJoe62

    This facility has been a great addition to the area. I’m looking forward to seeing construction start on the new phase.