Homestead official: $13.2 million addition 'incredibly exciting'

The open field west of The Homestead at Rochester may soon be developed into more senior housing.

Rochester's growing senior housing boom expanded this week with the groundbreaking of a multi-million dollar project to add more than 100 units to a northwest complex.

The Homestead at Rochester at 1900 Ballington Blvd. N.W. has started construction of a four-story addition with 52 independent living apartments and a one-story 56-bed long-term medical care wing. That wing also will include a short-term care section.

"It's incredibly exciting," said Jacque Hahn, Homestead's director of housing Tuesday as the walls of her office vibrated from the construction.

The hope is to have the additions completed and open within 12 to 14 months. Hahn says 61 percent of the yet-to-be-built 52 apartments already are rented.

The national non-profit Volunteers of America originally built and opened the complex in 2006. It has 77 independent living apartments, 44 assisted living apartments and 16 memory care units.


To refinance existing debt as well as finance this expansion, Volunteers of America is issuing at least $55 million in bonds with the City of Rochester acting as the conduit bond issuer. The early building permits put the very basic cost of the project at $13.2 million, though Hahn says it's safe to assume that number will be larger by the time it's completed.

This massive addition will require Homestead to double its current staff of 72 to a total of 147 by the time it opens.

Acknowledging that many other Rochester facilities also are expanding along with the construction of many new senior housing projects, Hahn said she is confident that Homestead's expansion is needed.

"Right now our wait list for an apartment is two and a half years. It has been consistently that long for at least three years," she says. "We're on the cusp of the Baby Boomers needing senior care. I think our need in Rochester is just going to accelerate."

Hahn's not the only one who anticipates exponential growth in Rochester's senior living sector.

The Waters on Mayowood, the 276,000-square-foot facility with 175 units, is under construction at 16th Street Southwest and Mayowood Road. The goal is for it open in the fall of 2014.

Titan Development also is building the $15 million River Bend Assisted Living community on the former site of the Silver Lake Motorcoach RV park, just south of the River Center Plaza shopping center. It will feature 70 assisted living units and 18 memory-care units. The goal is to complete the facility by fall of 2014.

The Madonna Living and Samaritan Bethany Senior communities are both expanding their footprints in Rochester to serve more people. CommonBond Communities, an affordable housing nonprofit based in St. Paul, also is building a 40-unit complex in southeast Rochester.


Driving the explosive growth in the $300 billion U.S. senior housing sector is the aging baby boomer generation, whose members are turning 65 at a rate of about 10,000 a day.

Rochester is especially attractive to the senior set, Hahn says.

"People are coming here for the medical care at Mayo Clinic and because their adult children work at Mayo Clinic," she says. "Rochester is a little different."

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