‘Prelude of Woodbury’ in early development stagesPhil Dommer is banking on the assumption that people increasingly want elderly relatives to age in a home-like setting rather than in a large institutional facility.
By: Scott Wente, Woodbury Bulletin
Phil Dommer is banking on the assumption that people increasingly want elderly relatives to age in a home-like setting rather than in a large institutional facility.
Dommer’s Emmaus Companies is planning construction of Prelude of Woodbury, an assisted living campus providing 24-hour care in a residential setting.
The multi-phase project is planned for an 11-acre site adjacent to the Wedgewood development. Construction is tentatively slated to begin in spring 2010 and stretch over several years.
This is a good time for alternative elderly housing because there is a shift taking place in the way aging people are cared for, Dommer said. More families are looking for options besides traditional nursing homes and want their aging relatives nearby.
“It’s more of keeping people where they want to be, which is in their homes and neighborhoods, as opposed to an institution,” Dommer said.
The first construction phase would consist of Prelude Cottages, a 30-bed “memory care home” for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, Dommer said. The cottages are planned for the southern edge of the property, near Woodbury Drive and Raleigh Road.
Emmaus also would begin building the first of its four estate homes, assisted living facilities that resemble large single-family homes and are not limited to people with memory loss.
A final phase includes two hospice homes, slated for 2014. When fully developed, Prelude of Woodbury could house 78 people. It also would provide in-home care services and consulting to families with elderly relatives.
Around-the-clock care in the residential-style facility will not come cheap. The base monthly rate for the memory care facility will be $5,900.
“The setting is desirable, but the cost does make it difficult for some families,” Dommer said. The facility will be targeted to people willing to tap savings or pay out of their own pocket, rather than using government support.
The company chose Woodbury because it’s a good place to live and to showcase a project that could serve as a national model, Dommer said.
Also, he said, there is a need for such housing in Woodbury. Emmaus Companies commissioned two market studies as it considered locations and both concluded there is need and desire for the housing.
That is backed up by the city’s own projections.
“The comprehensive plan was clear that Woodbury has a need and will have a need for senior housing,” said Eric Searles, associate city planner.
Emmaus recently submitted project plans to the city of Woodbury for review. The project could reach the Woodbury Planning Commission by February or March, Searles said.
Prelude not ‘end of line’
Prelude of Woodbury is the first of four assisted living developments Emmaus plans to build and own in affluent Twin Cities suburbs. Other projects are planned for Maple Grove, Plymouth, Shoreview/North Oaks and west Bloomington/Edina/Eden Prairie.
Dommer declined to detail the Woodbury project cost, but said it is “upwards of $10 million.”
Emmaus Companies has entered into a purchase agreement with Lloyd and Patricia Josephson, who have owned the property since 1963. Patricia Josephson said it will be difficult to sell, but she welcomed the development plan.
“I think it’s a good use of it,” she said.
So, what about that name – Prelude of Woodbury? Dommer said too often people consider assisted living facilities as the encore or “end of the line” for someone nearing death.
“Our philosophy is the opposite of that,” he said. “When a family makes the decision to move to a setting like this, we believe it’s the beginning of great days ahead.”
Wente can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org