Plans advance for four-story senior apartment project

45-unit Spanish Cove project earns planning commission nod

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Spanish Cove CEO Don Blose shows drawings for a new four-story, 45-unit senior apartment project that will be built just north of the Cove campus near Vandament and Cornwell. Estimated construction cost is $24-$25 million and work is expected to start later this summer. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar

Associate Editor

Construction is expected to start later this summer on a four-story, 45-unit senior apartment project that will further expand Yukon’s life-care retirement community.

The Yukon Planning Commission, at its Feb. 10 meeting, voted 4-0 to recommend approval of a rezoning, planned unit development and preliminary plat for the second phase of expansion at Spanish Cove Retirement Village.

The property, 50 E Vandament, is immediately north of the Spanish Cove Retirement Village campus east of Cornwell. A retail shopping center that now occupies the 1.44-acre site will be torn down.

“This really means a lot – not just for Spanish Cove but for Yukon as well,” Spanish Cove CEO Don Blose said. “We’ll have 45 new couples – some may be singles – move into Yukon. This is an awesome thing in general.

“When you have a relocating affluent couple moving into a community, they bring with them a lot of resources. Seventy percent of what they spend is spent locally. This is really good for Yukon and it’s really good for our tax base.”

These “high-rise” multi-family senior apartments will be a first for Yukon, Blose said. The one- and two-bedroom units will range from 1,080-1,500 square feet.

The building also will feature a fitness center and wellness programs open to anyone age 62 and above.

“We think we have a very nicely designed building,” Cove’s CEO said. “This means so much to Spanish Cove. Ultimately, we see the senior population growing – not just in Yukon, but all across America.

“We always want to compete with those that also offer senior housing. But we don’t want to grow too big as well. That’s why we’re starting with 45 units. This is phase two for Spanish Cove.”

Spanish Cove’s phase one expansion – its health center project – is about six to eight weeks from being complete, Blose added.

Construction of the four-story senior apartment building is expected to begin later this summer and take 20-24 months to complete.

“We anticipate the actual construction cost will be somewhere around $24-$25 million plus ‘soft costs’ for design and the loan,” Blose said. “That can add another $9-$10 million on top of that.”

The planning commission’s recommendation to approve the project Feb. 10 will be considered at an upcoming Yukon City Council meeting. Planning commission chairman Larry Taylor, who serves on Spanish Cove’s board of trustees, abstained from the vote.

Taylor, participating in his last planning commission meeting, said the project is “pretty exciting for people at the Cove.” (A story about Taylor’s decades of City of Yukon service will appear in an upcoming Yukon Progress edition)

‘STRIP MALL’ DEMOLITION

This existing retail shopping center will be torn down in coming months to make way for the new senior apartment development. Tenants will be provided ample notification when demolition will start (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

Patrick Altendorf of Wallace Engineering, on behalf of Spanish Cove Housing Authority, explained the requests for the rezoning, planned unit development and preliminary plat at Monday night’s meeting.

“The next phase includes demolition of the existing strip mall and construction of 45 independent living apartments and under-building parking,” Altendorf said. “The present zoning classification is C-3, restricted commercial. The requested zoning classification is C-3 – planned unit development.

“The PUD for phase one was presented to planning commission in 2017 and subsequently approved to city council. Staff recommends the latest proposed PUD is consistent with surrounding developments.”

Tenants that occupy the existing shopping center will be given ample notification of the demolition in coming months, Blose emphasized.

“They have been great businesses for Yukon; a lot of them longtime,” he said. “In one sense, it’s kind of sad because they’ve been such fixtures in Yukon. But they understand what we’re doing.

“It will be a real change for that area.”

Project architect Charlie Robertson outlined several exceptions and variances in the C-3 PUD requested by the applicant:

  • Reduce side yard setback from 25 feet to 20 feet.
  • Increase building height from 35 feet to 80 feet.
  • Increase off-site parking from 60 feet to 88 spaces (41 surface-level and 47 under-building).
  • Reduce front yard setback from 50 feet to 40 feet for an entry canopy to protect residents as they are dropped off at the front of the building, and for a few balconies on the northwest corner.

Yukon Development Services director Mitchell Hort said delivery hours will be between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and additional landscaping will be installed to provide a buffer.

The fire inspector has reviewed the plans and discussed issues with ingress and egress to the proposed senior apartment project.

“We have looked at the building very close,” Hort said. “It will comply with the building code requirements for its height and design.

“We are going to make sure it does meet all the life safety codes and requirements set forth in the adopted codes.”

LOOK TO THE FUTURE

Spanish Cove looks forward to the future for Yukon and for aging services, its CEO told commissioners.

“Down the road a few years, we’re going to see a huge population boom of 65 and older that we have to be prepared for,” Blose said. “The data says by 2050, one in four people in the United States will be 65 and over. So infrastructure is going to be important.”

Spanish Cove already has “pre-sold” 22 of the 45 independent living apartment units. A pre-sale requires a 10 percent deposit on the Cove’s entrance fee.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” Blose said. “We offer a life-care option for people, so as they age – if they need assisted living or nursing care – then we provide that to them for almost the same cost that they are spending on an apartment and living independently. It’s one of the best life-care insurances that money can buy.”

Spanish Cove wants people to “live longer better” when they move to Yukon’s premiere retirement community, Blose added.

At least 32 units (70 percent) will be pre-sold before Spanish Cove requests approval from the Yukon City Council to authorize the Cove to incur debt for the construction. That is required since Spanish Cove is a public trust of the City of Yukon.

“We’re expecting to have more than that when we come to the council,” Blose said.