In a move to fill what developers say is a still-hungry market for housing for independent seniors in Bloomington, United Properties will start construction on the city's third Applewood Pointe co-op in the spring.
Last week, the Bloomington City Council approved the application to divide property for the 77-unit co-op on land owned by the adjacent Mount Hope Lutheran Church on Old Shakopee Road at Beard Avenue. The council had already approved the project's development plan.
The new development is called Applewood Pointe Valley West. There are seven Applewood Pointes in Bloomington, Roseville, New Brighton, Woodbury and Maple Grove, with three more planned for Burnsville, Shoreview and Champlin.
Mark Nelson, a United Properties vice president of development, said his firm believes there is still untapped demand among active seniors for co-op living. The ownership units are aimed at people age 62 and older.
Longtime residents tend to want to stay in their community even as they make transitions in housing, he said. Among people who have reserved units at the Valley West location, 70 percent are Bloomington residents.
"These are folks that have been in Bloomington for decades, raised families there and have connections with friends and church," Nelson said. "They probably won't sell their home unless there is something like this."
The Applewood Pointe developments have a similar outward appearance and share amenities like a library, sun room, woodworking area and game room. The Valley West location will have some units that are larger than average, ranging up to almost 1,900 square feet. Parking will be underground, and the building will stretch from north to south along Beard Avenue, where the main entrance will be.
Though the units are single-level, the building will have staggered heights, rising from two stories nearest the single-family homes in the neighborhood to four stories further away.
Nelson said that building of independent senior housing took a breather during the recession, but that the market is "thawing" now.
"We're very bullish on this independent side of the market," he said. "Our average moving-in age is about 72, a good 10 years younger than assisted living ...
"With baby boomers aging and just turning 65, the younger, more independent senior is the bulk of this market and there is more of a need for this housing."
The Valley West project is expected to break ground in the spring and open in 2015.
Bloomington has added several senior housing projects in recent years. The first phase of Founder's Ridge on the city's southwest side has opened with 106 units of independent living, assisted living and memory care. Three more phases will add another 134 units with a similar mix of housing, said Glen Markegard, manager of the city's planning division.
Another pending development in Bloomington would add 166 units of senior housing on Portland Avenue at 87th Street.
"We continue to see interest, and I anticipate we'll have more projects in the next couple of years," Markegard said.
United Properties also has a development concept called Cherrywood Pointe, which offers advanced care for seniors. One has been built near one of Roseville's two Applewood Pointes. The firm also wants to build one near the Valley West Applewood in Bloomington, just a couple blocks up the road at Old Shakopee and France Avenue.
"We haven't given up on that," Nelson said. "We're working on it."