Another senior housing project is coming to downtown Anoka on a site overlooking the Rum River a few blocks north of City Hall.
The City Council voted unanimously last week to sell the 1.57-acre site at Harrison Street and 2nd Avenue to a developer who plans to build a senior cooperative there.
Hearth Development, of Stillwater, will oversee construction of the four-story, 60-unit building. It will be operated by Ebenezer, a senior housing management firm owned by Fairview Health Services.
Hearth general manager Greg Johnson said he expects to obtain financing for the estimated $19 million project from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But first he needs to sign up 70 percent of the co-op buyers and sign a purchase agreement with the city. Hearth hopes to break ground next spring.
Marketing will begin soon. Prices will range from about $180,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $380,000 for an 1,800-square-foot, two-bedroom unit with a den, Johnson said. The building will have surface and underground parking.
Mayor Phil Rice said the council chose partners Hearth and Ebenezer because of their experience with senior housing and because they agreed to the city’s land price of $295,000 with no subsidies. The council also liked Hearth’s plan to have more two-bedroom units than a competing developer proposed.
The future co-op will sit next to the Historic Rum River Condominiums for seniors that opened in 2009 and has filled its 40 units, said Erik Thorvig, city economic development manager. He noted that the co-op property is one of three lots currently owned by the city north of City Hall near the river.
“There’s been no development activity on our sites so it’s good to hit the start button down here again. We hope it carries momentum to the two other sites we have for sale,” Thorvig said. He noted that senior citizens have said at City Council meetings that they want cooperative housing because they can own a share, not just rent a unit.
“People like the idea of ownership and living downtown, close to the river,” Thorvig said. The co-op will sit across Second Avenue from the just-completed Riverfront Park, which offers a biking trail and river overlooks. Thorvig expects that Hearth will present site building plans to Anoka’s Planning Commission this fall.
“We love the location, close to downtown shopping and restaurants,” Johnson said. He said a marketing study of the Anoka area that was done for Hearth found a good number of seniors in their 60s and 70s, an active group looking for housing without maintenance so they can travel more. That group is the co-op’s target clientele, he said. He noted that the closest similar project is the Applewood senior cooperative planned just north of the Mississippi River bridge in Champlin.
Anoka bought the senior condo and co-op property in June 2000 for $619,000 from the Rum River Lumber Company, Thorvig said. Part of the land was sold to Rottlund Homes for $468,000 in 2006 for the senior condo building, he said. The rest of the property is slated to be sold to Hearth for $295,000 for the co-op.