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Council chooses senior development partner

Rosemount is one step closer to having a new senior living facility. On Tuesday the city council chose Development Representation Associates, to move forward on a senior housing project adjacent to the Steeple Center.

Now the city will have to negotiate the terms with the group to move forward on the project. DRA indicated they would like to begin construction sometime in 2012.

The team from DRA includes Ebenezer Management Services, a part of Fairview Health Services and DSGW Architects of North St. Paul.

As part of the RFQ each development team had to prove their financial ability to pay for the project. Additionally they had to prove their ability to manage or contract with a management company to operate the facility.

Council members felt like all three candidates possessed the ability but overall felt DRA had the best proposal. Mayor Bill Droste said he felt felt that DRA's partnership with Ebenezer was crucial.

"My personal opinion is they have a strong operation partner that can operate the facility," said Droste.

The city put out a Request for Qualifications in July. They received three responses. Last week the council interviewed representatives from all three development teams. The other two development teams were Stonebridge Companies and Winkelman Building Corporation with Frisbie Architects.

"It was certainly a difficult decision," said Kim Lindquist, community development director. She added that all three had good traits.

The council held a second special workshop on Sept. 28 and indicated during that workshop that it would like to move forward with DRA. During Tuesday's meeting the council voted 5-0 in favor of the move.

The facility will be built on 2.56 acres adjacent from the Steeple Center. The property currently holds the former St. Joseph's School building.

The city received a grant to help pay to demolish the school. City administrator Dwight Johnson said at one point the city did a study to see if the school could be reused but the cost to bring the building up to date exceeded its usefulness.

The council has talked about bringing a senior living facility to the community for a long time. Droste said currently residents who need more than basic care have to leave Rosemount.

A study commissioned by the city from Maxfield Research, Inc., showed demand for more senior housing in Rosemount. A primary goal is that the development includes assisted senior living and memory care units. Additionally the city hopes to negotiate for some type of senior center on the property.

"This area has long been a goal for the city. There has been a lot of effort to get to this point," said council member Jeff Weisensel.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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