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Senior housing project awaits word from HUD

By Brian Johnson
Dolan Media Newswires

Minneapolis — The city of Minnetonka may soon have some new housing options for seniors.

St. Therese Southwest wants to move forward within the next couple of months on a $25 million, five-level, 150-unit project that would bring a mix of 67 independent-living, 59 assisted-living and 24 memory-care housing units to the city’s Glen Lake neighborhood.

The proposed building would have 224,545 square feet of floor area, recreation and entertainment areas, and outdoor gardens, according to city documents.

Mike Pagh, CEO of St. Therese Southwest, said the project awaits final financing approvals from local office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“We have been fully submitted to HUD for financing since before the first of the year,” Pagh said. “We are hoping we will hear from HUD shortly. … We anticipate that we will be able to get into the ground, assuming the financing comes together as we hope and plan, by late spring or early summer.”

HUD is “one of the few good options” for financing in the current market, Pagh said.

Once financing is secured, the St. Therese project should be able to move forward quickly because it has cleared the city approval process.

“We are all buttoned up and ready to have things happen here,” said Minnetonka’s community development director, Julie Wischnack. “I think the market (for this product) is pretty strong in Minnetonka.

“It’s more of a life-cycle community, using independent care and assisted living and memory care. We don’t have too many of those kinds of facilities. Usually they are broken into segments. It’s a little different product than we have had in the past, so that is helpful.”

Pagh said the project will have “strong synergies” with St. Therese’s existing campus in Hopkins.

“We are really looking to a broader geographic area within the southwest suburbs of Minneapolis,” he added. “Indications are there is great strength there for this type of product.”

UrbanWorks Architecture of Minneapolis designed the project.

One thing that makes it stand out is its strong connection to the larger community, according to UrbanWorks President John Hamilton.

“So much of senior housing is built in a place that isn’t connected to the fabric of the community,” he said. “Here you have a grocery store next door, a pub and coffee shop, hair salon, and all kinds of things that people can walk to.

“It’s a way for people to move away from their homes and return those single-family neighborhoods to what they were built for — places to raise kids close to schools — and yet not move people out of the neighborhood, so grandma and grandpa are close to where the kids are. It’s exciting to have that connection.”

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