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Large senior housing project approved

A new senior housing project received two key votes when the Woodbury Planning Commission and the City Council approved a Comprehensive Plan amendment, rezoning and conditional-use permit for Saint Therese.

Saint Therese plans to build a multi-phased development as part of Urban Village, located southwest of Bailey Road and Radio Drive, where the new Bielenberg Gardens retail center is currently under construction.

The project will have 208 senior housing units that will include independent, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care.

Future phases of the project could also include multi- and single-family residential uses, but the Planning Commission approved the first phase only.

Barb Rode, Saint Therese president and CEO, said the facility gives residents stability because it offers a variety of different housing options for them as they continue to age.

“What we try to do is make sure people that come to our campus don’t have to move much,” she told the Planning Commission at the Feb. 3 meeting held at Woodbury City Hall.

Rode said the whole continuum of care from physician and nurse practitioner visits right to the campus to complete independent apartments will be included.

“You can’t tell the difference between the nursing home and the independent living,” she said. “That’s the beauty of it because there isn’t that stigma then that people are coming to die because they’re in the nursing home or the old folks’ home.”

In the four-story area of the building there will be independent apartments and the three-story facility will have memory care on the first floor and assisted living on the two floors above.

Saint Therese is also planning to build a library, chapel, salon and bistro on the first floor.

City staff were impressed with the quality of care when they visited the Brooklyn Park location, and so was Commissioner Kay Hendrickson when she saw the proposal.

“It just sounds like something Woodbury needs,” she said.

The Woodbury senior population is growing at a rate much faster than the population as a whole.

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.

Saint Therese plans to begin construction this spring and summer. The first phase will take nine months to complete and a total of 16 months to finish the whole project, City Planner Eric Searles said.

The project is part of a mixed-used development, Urban Village, that will include housing, retail and green space.

The Urban Village project began seeing activity last year when Bielenberg Gardens started grading the site and prepping it for a grocery store-anchored retail center to serve the southern portion of Woodbury and northern Cottage Grove.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.