New senior housing proposed in Stillwater; project replaces controversial Croix Bay plan

This rendering shows a senior living complex proposed north of Long Lake and just east of Rutherford Elementary in Stillwater.
This rendering shows a senior living complex proposed north of Long Lake and just east of Rutherford Elementary in Stillwater.

The city of Stillwater will consider a new proposal to build a $70 million senior living community near Long Lake.

Overlooking the northern end of the lake, just east of Rutherford Elementary, the site is in the same location as a controversial senior living facility proposed last year that failed to win city approval. The new prospective owner and developer say they’ve come up with a plan that addresses the city’s and neighbors’ concerns.

Intergenerational Living & Health Care, Inc. (ILHC), a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, announced last week that it purchased an option to acquire about 57 acres at the site. The organization focuses on interactive programming to bring children and seniors together, and it wants to create a high-end, mixed-unit senior living community in three phases. It would be known as The Lakes at Stillwater.

Phase 1 would include a 139-unit facility including independent and assisted living, as well as memory care. The second phase would include 30 independent living villas, and the third phase would add 70 apartments for active adults.

“The Lakes at Stillwater will be a vibrant senior living community inspired by the natural beauty of the surrounding scenic lakeside landscape, offering a healthy aging lifestyle, hospitality services and amenities, intergenerational programming and exceptional care services,” according to The Goodman Group, a privately held senior living and health care management company that would serve as the developer and property manager for ILHC.

Robyn Johnson, a spokesperson for The Goodman Group, said half the site would be kept as natural green space for seniors and the community to enjoy. She said The Goodman Group would also partner with Rutherford Elementary to create opportunities for seniors and youth.

Although the total number of units envisioned for this project is similar to the Croix Bay proposal, Johnson said the new plan takes into account the concerns of the community.

“As developers we see ourselves as becoming part of the fabric of the community,” Johnson said. “When you’re thinking about developing a space for seniors, when you take the time to really understand the community and to have a sense of engagement and to care about what they want, then you’re looking at building something that’s really sustainable. … We work with a not-for-profit, and we really want to enhance a community.”

“I think that the major issues that the council struggled with have all been addressed with this revised project,” said Bill Turnblad, Stillwater’s community development director.

One of the primary concerns for residents and the city council last year was the height of any new construction. The current proposal would adhere to existing city code without requiring a height variance.

Besides adhering to height restrictions, the new plan seeks to create more of a transition from existing residential areas.

“The edges have been softened and retreated from the bluff lines,” Turnblad said.

Although they have the same planning consultants as the former groups, Turnblad said the new developers “seem genuinely interested in creating a campus that works for the neighborhood.”

Johnson said The Goodman Group had a neighborhood meeting with residents March 31 to present the new plan and get feedback.

“It seems clear that the community is very much in support of bringing a senior community to bear there, and that they also have very reasonable hopes to maintain the natural beauty of the area,” Johnson said.

Todd Remely, president of the master homeowners association for the nearby Liberty on the Lake neighborhood was unable to attend the March 31 meeting, but he met with representatives of The Goodman Group April 5. He called the meeting “very productive and very promising.”

“It’s pretty obvious that this group has studied what happened [last year],” he said. “They very clearly have addressed some of the concerns that were expressed by the community the first go-round.”

Remely said the Liberty HOA will host a meeting for community members to learn more about the new proposal and offer comments. All are welcome at the meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 24, at Rutherford Elementary, 115 Rutherford Road, Stillwater.

If the project is approved, The Goodman Group hopes to begin construction this fall and open the first phase of the facility in 2018.

The Stillwater Planning Commission is scheduled to review the proposal Wednesday, April 12.

Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]