Plans for senior apartment project on hold

Economic fallout from pandemic delays construction, Spanish Cove CEO says

Spanish Cove CEO Don Blose stands beside an artist’s rendering of a four-story, 45-unit senior apartment project proposed just north of the Cove campus near Vandament and Cornwell. Construction is on hold because of economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

Plans to build a 45-unit high-rise senior apartment project in the center of Yukon are now on hold.

Spanish Cove Retirement Village had hoped to start construction later this summer on a four-story building at 50 E Vandament, a 1.44-acre site directly north of its existing campus.

“We’re definitely on hold for the time being until we see the economic fallout as a result of the (COVID-19) pandemic,” Spanish Cove CEO Don Blose said this week.

Blose’s “best guess” is that phase two of Spanish Cove’s expansion project will be delayed at least one year with construction starting no earlier than late 2021. He previously estimated construction would take 20-24 months.

Spanish Cove’s CEO said there will be a “lot of unknowns” until a vaccine is found for the novel coronavirus.

“There are many people interested in seeing this building built,” Blose said. “Before this (pandemic) hit, we had 26 people put down a deposit. Only one couple has dropped out and we’ve heard from many others who are still excited.

“They’d love to see it happen – and so would we. But we need to make sure we’re doing the best thing for Spanish Cove.”

At least 32 units (70 percent) must be pre-sold before Spanish Cove will request 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.

The phase two project cost would include an estimated $24-$25 million for construction plus $9-10 million for the design and loan.

Before Spanish Cove officials decide to incur more debt, Blose said they still must fill up the new Pavilion health center addition, 11 Palm.

Phase one of Spanish Cove’s expansion features two, two-story buildings totaling 55,000 square feet with basement shelters. One building has 20 skilled nursing apartments and the second building has 21 assisted living apartments.


While taking a “wait-and-see” approach on the phase two expansion, Cove representatives are still working on construction documents and submitting plans to the City of Yukon.

The Yukon Planning Commission, at its May 11 meeting, recommended approval of a final plat for the second phase of expansion at Yukon’s premier life-care retirement community. The city council will consider the recommendation at an upcoming meeting.

“Phase two will include demolition of the existing strip center and construction of 45 independent living apartments and underbuilding parking,” city planner Cindy Wright wrote in a staff report.

The one- and two-bedroom units would range from 1,080-1,500 square feet.

“The facility will also include kitchen and dining functions for Spanish Cove residents and their visitors; and a fitness and wellness facility that will be open to both Spanish Cove residents and the general public,” Wright wrote in her report to planning commissioners.
Before construction of the new senior apartments begins, a retail shopping center occupied by several longtime local businesses will be torn down.

Tenants will be provided ample notification when demolition will start, Blose said.