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Seniors move closer to new home

Posted: Monday, March 07, 2005

Years of planning and negotiations have paid off for a determined group of Cooper Landing seniors who on Tuesday acquired access to land on which they plan to build a senior services campus.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted unanimously Tuesday to sell 12.5 acres of land in the Snug Harbor Road area for $94,000 to Cooper Landing Senior Citizen Corporation Inc.

At the accepted interest rate of two points above the prime rate, the total cost would be $208,000 spread over the 30-year period.

Just knowing the long-held dream was nearing reality had Chuck Young, president of the seniors' corporation, beaming following the assembly vote.

"I'm excited, relieved and all those things," he said Tuesday. "But there's still a lot of work to do."

By the terms of Ordinance 2005-06, the land will be deeded to the corporation incrementally in subdivided parcels sized appropriately for each phase of the planned development.

All the land will be subject to a senior restriction, which will limit the use to construction and operation of senior facilities.

The corporation plans to build a six-unit apartment complex this year, followed over time by other campus facilities for independent living, assisted living, nursing and central facilities. Financing has been acquired through the Alaska Housing Finance Corp.

The Cooper Landing seniors have been working toward a senior complex for years, and between 20 and 30 area seniors have expressed serious interest in moving into the facility, according to Young.

In all likelihood, the four two-bedroom apartments and two one-bedroom apartments planned for the first six-plex will be filled immediately.

Young planned to meet with Marcus Mueller, borough land management agent, Wednesday to continue working out details, and said the corporation soon will hire an engineer to begin work on an access road to the site, which is off Snug Harbor Road about 1.5 miles from the Sterling Highway.

"We hope to build this summer," he said. "It will take three months to get a road in, but it will take that long to get the architectural drawings."

Young said if all goes well, the six independent living units of Phase I should be completed and ready for occupancy by December. That building will be a single-story structure of about 8,823 square feet with an estimated value of $1.6 million. It will include an office, carports for each unit and perhaps a garage to house a van.

Phase II of the project could be built sometime between 2007 and 2009, according to current plans. It would include six more independent senior housing units and a 30,000-square-foot senior center that would include a kitchen, dining room, lounge area, offices, a stage, an exercise room with a therapy tub, and multi-purpose classrooms.

Also planned for this phase is a 2,400-square-foot detached maintenance shop.

Phase III, to be built between 2009 and 2011, would include six more units of independent living and eight units of assisted-living housing.

Phase IV (2011-13) would include a dozen more independent living units in two separate buildings, which would be followed by Phase V (2013-15), in which a 12-bed, skilled nursing/long-term care facility would be added to the campus.

There is a clear demand for senior housing in the area. According to a market analysis, within a six-mile radius of Cooper Landing there are 118 residents age 50 or older, representing 39.8 percent of the local population. About 84 of those are over 60.

The state currently holds title to the 12.5 acres of land, but the borough has management authority over the property and expects to receive patent to it following acceptance of an Alaska State Land Survey to be completed this spring.



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