A $6.6 million retirement living center on the Palouse Highway could offer rents as low as $244 a month if the state approves low-interest bonds for construction.
Harry Green, developer of the project, said he is seeking $3.3 million in tax-exempt bonds from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.
In exchange for the bonds, Green would agree to maintain affordable housing in the 120-unit apartment complex.
A hearing before the housing finance commission is scheduled for next Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center in Toppenish, Wash.
The independent living apartments would be the first of several phases in the development of the Clare House project.
Eventually the center would offer attached bungalow homes, congregate living apartments, assisted living apartments, and facilities for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
A total of 418 units are planned on the 16.6-acre site southeast of the intersection of the Palouse Highway and Regal.
Clare House is the latest in a series of affordable retirement housing projects being developed by Green and partners. Green turned the former Holy Names Academy on the North Side into the Academy Retirement Community by using a combination of historic tax credits and a federal loan.
He also redeveloped the county’s Edgecliff Hospital sanitarium on South Park Road into the Park Place retirement center with help from a federal loan.
Clare House would receive federal tax credits designed to encourage affordable housing and a low-interest loan from the federally sponsored HOME program, Green said.
Interest rates on the state housing bonds will be lower because they carry tax-exempt status for investors.
The combination of low-interest loans and tax credits would allow Green to reduce operating costs and thus keep rents lower for seniors.
Clare House would be affordable to seniors earning as little as 30 percent of the area’s median income. All of the units will rent on a month-to-month basis, and there will be no up-front charges to move in.
“The dream of the Clare House all along is to have an affordable campus,” Green said. “I’ve had a drive to make life better for seniors.”
“There are some seniors in this community who are poor,” he said.
Alcove apartments will rent for as low as $244 a month. Two bedroom apartments will range in price from $399 to $650 a month.
Retirement centers offering a range of options are growing in popularity. Seniors move into a campus apartment and then remain in the same complex even if their health deteriorates and they need greater care, Green said.
The centers are attractive to couples who may have different health needs. One spouse may be able to live independently while the other might need closer care. A retirement center such as Clare House can offer both, Green said.
The development won approval from the county hearing examiner earlier this year.
Green’s plan calls for building a large storm-water retention pond on the north end of the campus to handle runoff from the buildings and parking lots.
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