Like many metro-area cities, Maple Grove has an aging population that is spurring a growing interest in senior housing.
The latest project, a proposed $34 million luxury senior living community, is headed for a final vote Monday from the City Council and could break ground as soon as September.
The 182 independent living, assisted living and memory care apartments in the Arbor Lakes retail district is the second senior project to sprout up in Maple Grove in three years, part of a boom of more than 6,000 senior housing units planned across the Twin Cities.
“It’s going to be a really signature senior development at that site,” City Administrator Al Madsen said. “It’s really setting the standard high for anyone else who comes in.”
The project, called SilverCreek on Main, and the other private one in Maple Grove, Arbor Lakes Senior Living, both have redeveloped land in the city’s gravel mining area. The approximately 2,000 acres of sand mounds and gravel pits are expected to gradually be transformed into parks, homes, stores and corporate offices.
One resident at last week’s planning commission meeting raised concerns about the concentration of senior housing near their homes deterring young families from moving in. But, Madsen said, senior living still makes up a small percentage of housing in Maple Grove and that single-family homes continue to be built. Some 5,000 housing units are planned for the gravel mining area.
“This is only a very small element,” he said.
SilverCreek on Main, which won unanimous support from the city’s Planning Commission, will fill a need as Maple Grove ages, Madsen added, and plug a niche in the senior market with its upscale, 259,000-square-foot building.
“It’s almost like a community within a community,” he said.
Between 2010 and 2040, the number of Twin Cities residents over the age of 65 is projected to more than double, from 307,000 to 770,000, according to the Metropolitan Council — and seniors will make up 21 percent of the population.
Developers say that, for the next few years, the Maple Grove senior market is expected to grow even faster than the metro as a whole.
That along with the expanding housing market in Maple Grove — many seniors relocate where their children are living — drew SilverCrest Properties and Ryan Cos. to the city, said Michael Gould, president of SilverCrest, which has five senior projects in the metro.
“Maple Grove is a dynamic, growing community,” he said. “There is definitely a niche for what we do.”
To target that niche — senior wellness — the building will include a 10,000-square-foot fitness center. The four-story building will be located in the town center off Main Street and Weaver Lake Road, within walking distance to a community center, library, stores and the future Central Park, a 20-acre park slated to begin taking shape this fall.
“We’re the land of two-stories,” planning commission chairman Larry Colson said of the city’s shorter buildings. “It’s nice to get something bigger. It’s kind of the entrance into this urban area.”
The senior complex, which could open by December 2014, will primarily serve seniors 75 years old and older, but will be able to expand as the state’s “silver tsunami” of 1.5 million baby boomers, ages 65 and older, continue to retire.
“We’re still 10 to 15 years from that tsunami,” Gould said.