Senior Living: Saline City Council unanimously approves land sale for proposed assisted living facility

By Lisa Allmendinger for AnnArbor.com

The Saline City Council unanimously approved a $541,900 purchase agreement Monday night with a Grand Haven, Mich., developer that wants to build a $12.5 million, 100-unit senior housing facility at 7605 N. Maple Road.

Tom Higgins, development coordinator the project’s parent company, Reenders, Inc., said company representatives plan to be on the site performing environmental studies later this week.

The proposed project includes both general assisted living and memory-care facilities. Studio and one-bedroom units are planned and will range from 224- to 576-square feet. The units are expected to cost about $3,000 per month plus the cost of any additional care.

Council member Pat Ivey supported the sale of the former city Department of Public Works property. “Assisted living and memory care are critical to our needs as an aging population,” he said. “According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 5 million people in the country are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and a new individual is diagnosed with the disease every 70 seconds.”

Lee Bourgoin, the city’s finance director, said the developer was paying about $81,000 per acre and there is a $144,000 Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA) funded development incentive.

“That money will be recovered by TIFA in a couple of years,” he said, and the developer will pay about $61,000 in taxes per year.

The city and the developer discussed a two-phase land purchase agreement during a Dec. 20 work session, but a vote was postponed while the two sides worked out additional details in the contract.

Higgins said previously that the company hopes to “be in the ground next summer” and that about 25 percent of the units would be designed for “Alzheimer’s or other forms of memory impairment.”

Reenders, a family-owned company, was begun in 1946 and has an extensive history of construction projects, including a number of senior housing facilities. It has built and owns 13 assisted living developments in the state and also has a management company called Heritage Property Management, Inc., which “manages more than 1,300 rental units, including apartments, single-family homes, professional office space, a mobile home park and more than 500 units of assisted and congregate living,” according to its proposal to the city.

“With this new development joining nearby existing facilities of the Evangelical Homes of Michigan, Saline can be distinguished as a community that empowers seniors with lifestyle choices,” Ivey said.

About 50-75 new employees are expected when the project is complete Shirley Woodruff, one of the principals of the company, said previously. There will be between 75 and 100 total employees when the facility is staffed 24 hours a day, she said.

The city is retaining portions of the property for access to a cell tower, as well as access to rail for freight or light rail as well as parking on both the south and the north side of the property, Bourgoin said.

“I was very excited when I heard that someone was interested in this property and although no development is perfect, this is a good fit for that parcel,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Brian Marl.

Mayor Gretchen Driskell did not attend the meeting because she is out of state on family business.

[annarbor.com]

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