Senior living projects address greater housing demand - Great River Energy

Senior living projects address greater housing demand

Access to housing is a challenging theme in communities throughout the United States. Housing shortages exist for nearly all demographics and age brackets.

The situation for individuals and couples seeking places to retire or needing health services is no different. Creating a greater supply of senior living offers hope for those entering the silver years and many more segments of the population.

“In the absence of senior-focused communities, the greater housing demand may experience strains, as elderly residents compete for the same housing resources as other age groups,” said Katie Perry, chief operating officer/senior vice president with Knute Nelson, a nonprofit leader in senior housing and health care in Minnesota. “The support of senior housing is essential for maintaining a balanced and sustainable housing market that caters to the community’s diverse needs.”

Great River Energy and its member-owner cooperatives are involved in two projects in Greater Minnesota that will address senior housing needs.

Crystal Brook Senior Living

Residents of Park Rapids, Minnesota, have been served by the 143,000-square-foot assisted living/health care facility Crystal Brook Senior Living since 2018. Operated by Knute Nelson, the state-of-the-art facility includes 69 congregate/independent living and assisted living units, with an additional 19 memory care assisted living units.

Residents of Park Rapids, Minnesota, have been served by the assisted living/health care facility Crystal Brook Senior Living since 2018.

Demand for the health care services continues to grow in the region surrounding Park Rapids, with a recent market study identifying a need for 36 new memory care units in the area by 2027. In response, Knute Nelson broke ground last summer on a 17,714-square-foot addition to Crystal Brook to establish a new 20-unit memory care household on the campus. The expansion is estimated to be completed this spring.

Great River Energy and member-owner Itasca-Mantrap Electric Cooperative have supported the project dating back to Crystal Brook’s original construction in 2017. Great River Energy helped Itasca-Mantrap secure $1.71 million in 0% interest gap financing to build the facility on land that Itasca-Mantrap had previously set aside for just this sort of development. The funding came in the form of $1.36 million in USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program financing via Itasca-Mantrap and a $350,000 E3 commercial financing loan from Great River Energy.

“Crystal Brook staff adopt a holistic approach to care, emphasizing residents’ independence and choices while ensuring their safety,” Perry said. “The Town Center, a central hub of Crystal Brook, enriches residents’ lives with sought-after amenities, including a restaurant, club room, conference room, fitness center, screened-in porch, community room and expansive outdoor spaces for various activities.”

Five years later, when the facility was poised for expansion, building cost increases and rising interest rates created significant challenges. Itasca-Mantrap stepped in again to help secure $2.36 million in USDA REDLG financing and Great River Energy approved a second E3 loan of $350,000, all at 0% interest. Bremer Bank is the lead lender on the project.

Boka Haven Assisted Living

Last fall, East Central Energy (ECE) celebrated the groundbreaking of Boka Haven in North Branch, Minnesota — a multimillion-dollar project to construct a 24,000-square-foot, 40-unit senior living facility. The project is expected to create more than 25 new full-time jobs when construction is anticipated to be completed in July.

ECE supported the project with a $250,000 low-interest loan out of its USDA revolving loan fund program, while Great River Energy provided a loan application analysis report, assisted with the board presentation and supported the loan closing.

East Central Energy helped celebrate the groundbreaking of Boka Haven, a 24,000-square-foot, 40-unit senior living facility that is expected to be completed in July.

Owners Ettafa Boka and Daleso Yadetta, an entrepreneurial couple dedicated to senior care, operate a smaller facility in North Branch known as Brask Haven. Their background in the health care and financial industries has made them well aware of the need and demand for senior living in North Branch.

“We want to do more than think about financial bottom lines,” Yadetta said. “We want to impact the lives of the people here by creating access to a place in a community where individuals have lived much of their lives and feel comfortable.”

While the 40 units do not completely meet the demand for senior living in North Branch, they will significantly help the market. Boka states they consistently receive calls from individuals, couples or family members wanting to place their loved ones locally, instead of in Duluth, St. Cloud or the Twin Cities.

As a cooperative, we’re always glad to see economic growth in local communities. Projects like Boka Haven can boost property values and bring in jobs for area residents. In addition, it’s hard for family members to have their loved ones living an hour or more away, so the benefits of having a local housing facility is a blessing in more ways than one.

— John Bosman, East Central Energy business accounts representative

Their experience with Brask Haven clarified the need for more service in the North Branch area. Boka Haven will have a modern vibe to the design, with all its rooms having private, full bathrooms. Its location offers desirable convenience in proximity to downtown North Branch, groceries and a health clinic within walking distance.

The owners said they cannot express enough gratitude for ECE and other lenders.

“Inflation has led the cost of construction to be much higher than expected, so this project would not happen without their help,” Boka said. “But beyond the financing, it was clear they wanted to be part of a project that brought this service to the community.”

Featured initiatives
" data-object-fit="cover">

Great River Energy and member-owners pursue federal funding

Full article
" data-object-fit="cover">

Great River Energy doubles commitment to pollinator-friendly habitat restoration

Full article