Senior-living development comes full circleA topic at the Sept. 4 Plan Commission meeting was about the next-and-final phase of development planned to start next month at Comforts of Home on Aurora Circle, located on the city’s southern tip, corner of Hwy. 29 and County Road FF.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
A topic at the Sept. 4 Plan Commission meeting was about the next-and-final phase of development planned to start next month at Comforts of Home on Aurora Circle, located on the city’s southern tip, corner of Hwy. 29 and County Road FF.
Developer Goldridge Capital Management, LLC, owns the development, and Comforts of Home operates the facilities. Building of the retirement and assisted living development started in 2006.
Goldridge slightly altered its original plan from five buildings to four, triggering the need for the Plan Commission and City Council to approve the change. The commission OK’d the plan and has recommended that the City Council do the same.
The developer had planned on constructing a 16-unit townhome building and a 28-unit assisted living building. The revised plan calls for one building that contains 42 assisted-living units.
Documents in the city staff report reveal that each of the 42 rooms in the new building will be 250 square feet, with a bath and closet.
The building will also include a beauty-exam room, two 600-square-foot sitting rooms, a manager’s office, full kitchen, a dining area, a commons area with fireplace and TV, a fenced outdoor space and a garden.
The paperwork also says the plan is to finish the facility and be ready for residents to move in by summer 2013. The architectural style of the building will closely match the existing structures.
Along with the last building in the development comes completion of the Aurora Circle roadway, too.
As the Plan Commission members asked questions at the meeting, Gerald Koehn, managing partner and principal of Goldridge, clarified, “The building we’re proposing to build here is basically a memory care.”
He said market demand and economic climate necessitated the plan change.
The Comforts of Home concept, as explained to the Journal when development began on it in 2006, is to offer housing that accommodates people during the stages of later life, from early retirement through when they need varying degrees of help.
Options include independent living to full assistance in a secure facility. Koehn explained that people are finding it hard to sell property, affecting the general plan of selling and moving when it’s time.
For a hypothetical example: The original plan saw see seniors buying a smaller property like a townhome during early retirement, then selling that if and when they needed an assisted living or memory-care facility.
According to Koehn at the meeting and City Planner Tony Steiner outside the meeting, market-demand research clearly shows that the biggest need right now is for assisted-living units.
Also according to past coverage of the development, Comforts of Home includes three other buildings: One has assisted living, where residents can get varying degrees of care and help; another is secure and offers more care for patients with memory or dementia issues; and the other building includes options that range from living independently to having certain types of care.
The Journal couldn’t obtain comments from Goldridge Capital before deadline, despite several calls to the developer and one return voice mail from a representative of it.