Growing senior population draws senior, memory care facilities to Woodbury
Developers and operators of senior care facilities are beginning to recognize the demand for their market in a suburb like Woodbury.
With many residents continuing to age in the community and young families raising children near grandparents, the Woodbury senior population has been growing at a much faster rate than all other age groups.
The number of seniors age 65-plus increased by more than 82 percent over the past decade, according to U.S. Census data, luring in housing and memory care facilities to the growing east metro suburb.
Edgewood Vista and Saint Therese are two facilities proposing to build in two separate parts of town.
Woodbury Planning Commission last week approved the Edgewood Vista project, a 60-unit senior living facility with 32 memory care units on the first floor and 28 assisted living spaces on the second.
Developers of the property located on Century Avenue, south of Lake Road and west of Interstate 494, will demolish three single family homes to build the facility in a high density area of Woodbury.
Saint Therese, on the other hand, has not submitted a formal proposal yet, but leasing advisor Angela Regan said the company will build its third Twin Cities location in the new, still undeveloped Urban Village, southwest of Bailey Road and Radio Drive.
The 100-unit facility will include independent apartments, assisted living, memory care, a 24-hour skilled senior care center and transitional care units.
Woodbury Housing and Redevelopment Coordinator Karl Batalden said the data paint a clear picture and the market for senior housing is responding to those numbers.
"In some ways it's a market force that's very much illustrating what I've always seen when I looked at the demographic numbers," he said.
In 2000, the senior population made up about 6 percent of the total population, or about 2,800 people, according to census data.
Ten years later, that number jumped to 5,164, growing by 82 percent, while the change in the total population is calculated at 33 percent.
"When you're comparing the rate of growth, the senior population in Woodbury is growing at a significantly faster rate than the population as a whole," Batalden said.
The Edgewood Vista project is similar to the Prelude Senior Living, which opened three years ago on Woodbury Drive.
When the Planning Commission was tasked with reviewing Edgewood Vista, it heard from a few neighboring residents who were concerned about increased traffic and stormwater runoff.
The panel didn't hear complaints about the type of facility or the fact that it'll have memory care units, which Commissioner Kay Hendrikson said is "refreshing."
"It either says that people have lots of confidence in you as an operator or people are more understanding," she told Ross Huttunen, regional vice president of Edgewood Vista, at the Wednesday, Sept. 4 meeting.
Edgewood Vista plans to break ground this October and open the facility in July 2014, while Saint Therese is set to open in April 2015.
Edgewood Vista has locations all across the Midwest with six in Minnesota and a new one coming to Blaine. Huttunen said the company is starting to expand in the Twin Cities where there is demand for the market.
Besides the two exclusively senior care facilities, the CityWalk development is in the process of opening up a 45-unit building for various types of households including seniors and those with physical disabilities.
Batalden said existing rental units, including senior and assisted living facilities, are most likely close to capacity and the city will benefit from additional units to keep up with the growing demand.
"You are seeing the developers identify senior housing as a need in Woodbury and they're acting on that," he said. "I think that's a really good thing from a housing policy perspective. Woodbury wants to have housing stock options for any individual who wants to live in our community."