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Two senior house projects get planning approval

The Rosemount Planning Commission moved two senior housing projects forward Tuesday night during their regular meeting.

While it might seem like a lot of the same, when the projects broke down they seemed to complement one another.

The Dakota County Community Development Agency plans to build a 60-unit independent living facility for people over the age of 55.

The Makado Group will build a 90-unit facility that will include memory care, assisted living and independent living. Developer Mark Applebaum said people generally access their services in their 80s, and even those who live independently will receive some services.

CDA project

The CDA proposes to build an L-shaped building on the northern part of the former Genz-Ryan property along Highway 3, said senior planner Eric Zweber. The building will include 33 one-bedroom apartments and 27 two-bedroom apartments. While most of the building will be affordable-living apartments with a fixed rent, 10 percent will be market grade.

The project will include a 58-stall underground parking garage and 24-stall above ground parking. Parking has been one of the primary concerns expressed by residents, said Zweber. He said staff feels plans adequately address the issue.

The other main issue that has come up is the impact to traffic. The Genz-Ryan site was originally designated as commercial. Zweber said the senior living facility will impact traffic considerably less than a commercial shopping center would have.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation determines access onto Highway 3. While for other projects MNDot has limited access to right-in/right-out access, Zweber said for this project they have approved full access.

There have also been concerns that the development will impact traffic at the corner of Lower 147th Street and Highway 3. Zweber said traffic generation from the site will likely be similar to when the Genz-Ryan occupied the site.

The project will be the second housing facility the CDA owns in Rosemount. The agency also owns Cameo Place, located at the corner of Lower 147th Street and Cameo Avenue. The two facilities will be a block away from one another.

After viewing a number of sites in Rosemount, the CDA chose the Genz-Ryan site because of its proximity to its other senior housing facility. According to a staff memo to planning commissioners, residents would be able to easily access the lunch program at Cameo Place. The site is also close to transit and the services available downtown.

To make way for the project, the CDA has purchased three of four homes along Cambrian Avenue needed for the project. The CDA has entered into a purchase agreement with a closing date in March for the fourth home.

Executive director of senior housing Kari Gill said the CDA is excited to bring another building to Rosemount. She said the building will look similar to the Vermillion Crossings building the agency recently built in Farmington.

The city received a $942,000 Metropolitan Council Livable Communities grant to help with the project. The funds will be used to help purchase and demolish the Cambrian houses, make upgrades sanitary and storm sewer and improve pedestrian access.

The planning commission held a public hearing before voting on their recommendation for the project. A neighbor of the property brought up concerns about construction safety and traffic in the area.

In response to the concerns, Gill said they can limit where construction equipment can access the site to keep the trucks out of the residential neighborhood. Additionally, she said that because the construction will be near a residential neighborhood they will consider fencing around the site.

No construction start estimates were given during the meeting.

Rosemount Senior Living Associates

Planners also gave the green-light to a privately-owned senior living facility on the site of the old St. Joseph School.

The Makado Group LLC plans to build a three-story U-shaped senior housing facility. The care facility will include 30 memory care units, 30 assisted living units and 30 independent living apartments. Augustana Care will operate the facility.

Community development director Kim Lindquist described the project as “a fairly tight site.” Despite the limitations of the site, Lindquist said she thinks most of the issues have been addressed.

Access to the site is one issue. The area, which includes Rosemount Middle School and Rosemount Elementary School, sees high traffic at certain times of day. Lindquist said to avoid adding to the traffic on 143rd, the facility will only be accessed from Cameo Avenue.

Another issue is parking. Parking in the downtown area is already tight, especially during big events. The project plans for a 70-stall underground parking garage. Additionally, the site plan calls for 61 above ground parking spaces.

Lindquist said parking will continue to be tight but she believes it’s workable.

Makado group representative Mark Applebaum said he believes the care center will be a good addition to the Rosemount community. While the site has some challenges, Applebaum said it also offers some unique opportunities.

The housing development will be connected to a 10,000 sq. ft. activity center that will be run by the city. Both centers will link to the Steeple Center.

Applebaum said the Makado Group has already had discussions with the Rosemount Area Arts Council about providing programming for residents of the memory care unit. He added that having it all linked will give the seniors living in the center access to interact with the public.

Resident Mike Ryan spoke during the public hearing for the project. He lives just south of the site and expressed concerns about privacy and lighting issues.

Zweber said staff will work with Ryan to address his concerns.

Planning commission chair John Powell said he’s excited for project and thinks it will be a positive addition to the community. Going forward, Powell said he hopes to see inter-generational activity come out of the center.

The council will review the project in the coming months. Construction is anticipated to begin in early summer.

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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