Senior apartment developer eyes The COR

Staff Writer
I cover the cities of Andover, Blaine and Ramsey. I have worked at ABC Newspapers since August 2007.

Another apartment development is looking at coming to The COR in Ramsey.

A Washington-state based developer, Inland Group, is interested in constructing a 175-unit apartment complex that would be leased to residents ages 55 and older who do need assisted living or memory care services. Affinity Living Communities would manage the property.

City Administrator Kurt Ulrich said five city-owned properties in The COR were considered, but the option that the city and Inland Group likes the best is located on the opposite side of Sunwood Drive from The Residence at The COR apartment building.

It would be immediately adjacent to a planned 2-acre city park on the northwest corner of Sunwood Drive and Center Street and there would be enough land for about 16,000 square feet of retail and restaurant developments.

“I’m very excited to see this type of product come here,” Council Member Jill Johns said. “I think it’s perfect and very timely and something that’s needed.”

Ramsey must still agree on a purchase price for the 4-acre property, but Inland Group wanted to gauge whether the city would be interested in this proposal before negotiating a purchase agreement.

Community Development Director Tim Gladhill said the city decided it would be a better practice to involve the Ramsey Planning Commission earlier in the process so there was no perception that a project would automatically be approved once a purchase agreement was approved by the Ramsey City Council and Ramsey Economic Development Authority.

The planning commission and EDA reviewed the proposal earlier in August before it came to the full city council on Aug. 22. The next step is for Inland Group to file for a preliminary plat and come to an agreement with the city on a land purchase price.

Although the city of Ramsey will have plenty of opportunities to comment on Inland’s site layout and building appearance, some council members did give their two cents on how they envision this new building fitting in visually.

This new building would be a similar height to The Residence at The COR. Keith James, development manager for Inland Group said they are considering having the commercial development along Sunwood Drive. The apartment building could be set back further so there wouldn’t be “an alley effect” from having Inland’s building and The Residence at The COR so close together.

Council Member John LeTourneau prefers to see the apartment building as close to Sunwood Drive as possible and to have all the parking stalls and any commercial developments on the opposite side of the building.

Mayor Sarah Strommen agrees with the EDA’s desire to keep some of the 4-acre property for commercial development, but said the decision on how the site would best be laid out does not have to be finalized at this time.

“That’s a conversation we can address down the road,” Strommen said.

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