Too many senior housing projects?

  • Updated: November 1, 2011 - 9:13 AM
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Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding helped redevelop a block of run-down buildings on Robert Street. The area is now a 59-unit senior housing development called the Dakotah. There is also 6,600 square feet of commercial space on the ground level.

Photo: Dakota County Community Development Agency

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Proposals for senior housing projects have been busting out all over in the Twin Cities. But are there too many?

A study by Minneapolis-based Everest Real Estate Advisors says that most of the demand over the next decade will be for senior housing with services, including assisted-living units and memory care facilities. With the region's population of people 75 and older projected to grow to 182,000 by 2020, the group says that at least 620 new units a year over the next decade will be needed to satisfy demand. This year, 625 will hit the market.

At the current rate of construction, that's not happening. Historically, only 550 units per year have been built. While developers have proposed building thousands of units, EREA's senior vice president, Marsha Goff, says that an untold number won't get built because they can't get required equity, financing or proper approvals.

Construction of senior-only buildings that don't have services has come to a virtual standstill because so many of the people who would buy or rent units in those buildings need to sell the house they already own to make the move. That part of the market won't improve until the for-sale housing market recovers.

For residential real estate news contact Jim Buchta at 612-673-7376, jim.buchta@startribune.com.

For commercial real estate news contact Janet Moore at 612-673-7752, janet.moore@startribune.com.

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