Senior housing project approved

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Assembly agreed to sell eight lots to a developer for the project in Vintage Business Park.

    In addition, the Assembly approved a grant of $2 million for the project.

    The land was sold for $1.52 million.  Torrey Pines Development plans to develop 80 units for assisted living for seniors.

    The grant will help with construction costs, help attract equity capital, and ensure that the rental rates for seniors remain affordable.

    Without the grant dollars, the rents would likely have to increase up to 25 percent to make the facility financially viable.  That was considered too high for the Juneau market.

    The CBJ plans to take $1.6 million from the general fund and use $400,000 from the Juneau Affordable Housing Fund to cover eight Medicaid eligible beds.

    Assembly Member Loren Jones had concerns about the funding formula.  He suggested that many more beds would be eligible for Medicaid funding.  He said all of the money should come from the general fund and the CBJ should not use the $400,000 from the Affordable Housing Fund.

    Assembly Member Wade Bryson asked if a low-interest loan was possible.

    The facility would be called the Riverview Senior Community.

    Lorilynn Swanson said groups have been working over 30 years to bring this facility to Juneau. 

    Sue Douglas said the Assembly listened, learned and thoroughly examined this proposal.  "You have done your job and we are really proud of you for it."

    She said the Assembly understood the need, the community support, and the market demand for this project.

    Beth Kerttula, former State Representative, spoke about the difficulties of taking care of a family member at home.  She also praised the Pioneer Homes but noted there isn't enough space for all the seniors in Juneau.  She urged the Assembly to do all it can to keep seniors in Juneau.  She urged approval of the Riverview project.

    A study found Juneau will need 220 assisted living beds in the next few years.

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