A Kansas nonprofit has become the latest to test the senior housing market in Colorado Springs, where seven facilities have opened in the past 16 months and added more than 600 units to the area.
Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America has acquired the company that owns 26.5 acres southeast of Coronado High School where the planned Sentinel Ridge Senior Living complex was to be built and was later shelved by its Texas-based developers. The Wichita, Kan.-based nonprofit is in the early stages of planning and financing the $80 million project it has renamed Aberdeen Ridge Senior Living that would include up to 234 units of senior apartments, assisted living and memory care units in the first phase.
“We have looked at sites in Colorado, both Denver and Colorado Springs, as well as surrounding states, but then this opportunity was there with this property that had already” completed the planning process, said Bruce Shogren, president and CEO of Presbyterian Manors. “They were looking to sell the property, and we were the winning bidder. We saw it as an opportunity to expand our mission of serving seniors.”
Senior Quality Lifestyle Corp., based in suburban Dallas, had acquired the site through a subsidiary in 2016 after winning city approval for the complex but shelved those plans and put the land on the market. Presbyterian Manor acquired the subsidiary in August and has begun gauging interest in the Aberdeen Ridge, which under a preliminary schedule would begin construction in late 2020 or early 2021 and open in the second quarter of 2022.
Presbyterian Manors has opened a marketing office near the site to build awareness about the project and is working with a Milwaukee- area architecture firm that specializes in senior housing to develop up to six floor plans for units in the complex, Shogren said. The nonprofit wants to secure enough deposits for units so it can issue tax-exempt bonds to finance construction of Aberdeen Ridge, he said.
Irving, Texas-based senior housing developer Greystone Communities, which Senior Quality Lifestyle Corp. hired to build Sentinel Ridge, will remain as developer of Aberdeen Ridge, Shogren said. The first phase is to include 170 independent living apartments as well as dining, exercise and areas for social events; 36-40 assisted living units and 24 memory care units for residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, he said. A second phase would include more independent living apartments and 24-hour nursing care.
While Presbyterian Manors will enter a crowded market, it will open about three years after the bulk of most of its newest competitors opened. Shogren said the nonprofit also offers a different financial model than most other senior housing operators — what it calls a Unique Health Care Benefit that offers discounted assisted living and memory care and a partially refundable entrance fee based on how much assisted living, memory or nursing care residents require.
Shogren isn’t worried about the recent construction boom in senior housing. Few of the projects are on the west side of Colorado Springs close to Garden of the Gods and other amenities or are operated by nonprofits such as Presbyterian Manors. Many of the new projects are focused on assisted living and don’t include all three levels of senior housing — independent living apartments, assisted living and 24-hour nursing care.
“We have updated the previous owner’s market study and still believe there is a market there. We are a long way from construction and will have to see if there (actually) is a market for another senior living community,” Shogren said. “A lot of the providers (in Colorado Springs) do a great job, but we bring a different model that we believe is unique.”
Presbyterian Manors started 70 years ago as a mission of the Presbyterian Church’s Synod of Mid-America. It became an independent nonprofit in 1988, though Shogren said its 17 senior housing projects in Kansas and Missouri offer a “Christian environment” for more than 2,500 residents. Aberdeen Ridge will be the nonprofit’s first project in Colorado.
Just one other senior housing complex is planned for development in the Springs. Lincoln, Neb.-based Resort Lifestyle Communities paid $2.6 million for a 7.4-acre site southwest of Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road for its Aspen Trail Retirement Resort. The $30 million project is planned to include 128 independent living apartments, dining area, 150-seat theater, 24-hour fitness center, bank, pharmacy, gift shop and salon. The company is seeking a building permit and the complex would open in mid-2020.
All of the construction hasn’t hurt either the occupancy rate or rents local senior housing complexes are getting, according to the latest data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Hosing & Care. The occupancy rate has steadily risen since the end of 2017 and were at 91.4 percent in the third quarter, 16th highest among the 99 metropolitan areas tracked by the center. Rents surged 7.7 percent during the same period after declining for four consecutive quarters ending in the first quarter of 2018.
Beth Mace, the center’s senior economist, said the projects don’t seem to be “impacting the market, which appears to be strong,” based on a significantly higher than average percentage of the local population aged 75 and above living in senior housing complexes. Nearly 13 percent of that age group lives in local senior complexes, compared with 11.1 percent nationally.
Recently completed senior housing projects include:
• Jackson Creek Senior Living, a $32 million complex with 137 independent living apartments, assisted living and memory care units, opened in December at 16601 Jackson Creek Parkway in Monument.
• The Aspen at Woodland Park, a 21-unit assisted living center at 107 Village Terrace in Woodland Park, opened in September.
• Melody Living, a 79-unit assisted living and memory care complex at 7600 Sandy Rock Point near Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard, opened in August.
• Springs Ranch Memory Care, which includes 72 memory care units, opened in May at 3315 Emmitt View Drive, southeast of Tutt Boulevard and North Carefree Circle.
• Province Springs, a 160-unit independent living apartment complex with meal service, opened in February at 2960 Tutt Drive.
• Retreat at Sunny Vista, a 70-unit assisted living and memory care center that is part of the Sunny Vista complex, opened in November 2017 at 2450 E. Cache La Poudre St.
• Assisted Living at the Springs, a 30-unit assisted living center, opened in October 2017 at 1605 Jet Wing Drive.
• Bethesda Gardens, a 60-unit assisted living and memory care center, opened in September 2017 at 55 Beacon Lite Road in Monument.