Spokane United Methodist Homes, a Spokane nonprofit corporation that oversees two big retirement communities here, has asked the Washington state Housing Finance Commission to issue $28.5 million in tax-exempt bonds to finance two construction projects and other upgrades to those facilities.
The retirement-center operator expects to break ground before the end of the year on one of those projects: a long-awaited $12.5 million renovation and expansion of the health center at the Rockwood retirement community on Spokanes South Hill. That campus, which now is called Rockwood South, has been developing plans for the health-center project for several years.
Meanwhile, Spokane United Methodist Homes, which now does business as Rockwood Retirement Communities, broke ground earlier this month on the other construction project: a $1 million expansion and renovation of the skilled-nursing facility at what formerly was known as Hawthorne Retirement Community. Spokane United Methodist Homes bought Hawthorne earlier this year and since has renamed that North Side campus Rockwood at Hawthorne.
Steve Wuitschick, president and CEO of Rockwood Retirement Communities, declines to discuss either project yet, saying that he prefers to wait until more details have been firmed up.
The state commission will hold a hearing in Seattle this Sunday to gather public comment concerning the possible bond issue. Spokane United Methodist Homes would have to repay the bondholders, plus interest, for any financing it receives, says Tia Peycheff, manager of the capital projects division at the commission. She says the commission should decide next month whether to issue the bonds.
If the bonds are issued, about $22 million in proceeds would be used at Rockwood South, which is located at 2903 E. 25th, according to the commission. About $12.5 million of that money would be spent on the upgraded health center, Rockwood said in a recent press release.
The commission said equipment purchases and refinancing of debt also would be done with part of the $22 million.
The Rockwood South health-center project, as described by the commission, would involve construction of a 60,000-square-foot facility that would contain 30 assisted-living units for residents with dementia, 36 skilled-nursing beds, nursing offices, and dining and activity rooms for residents. The two-story addition would be added onto the south end of Rockwoods existing building, says Bill Mott, a plans examiner with the city of Spokane. The Rockwood South campus currently includes 268 independent-living units, 54 assisted-living units, and 45 skilled-nursing beds.
About $6.5 million in proceeds from the proposed bond sale would be expanded at Rockwood at Hawthorne, with $1 million of that earmarked for Hawthornes skilled-nursing facility project, other uses of the funds earmarked for Rockwood at Hawthorne include acquisition of additional equipment, the commission says.
The renovation and expansion project there, which is expected to take about eight months to complete, would increase the size of the current skilled-nursing facility by about 50 percent. The project would increase individual room sizes, create several private rooms, and expand dining, activity, and office spaces, Rockwood said in statement released earlier this month. Rockwood at Hawthorne, located at 101 E. Hawthorne, currently includes 76 independent-living units, 10 assisted-living units, and 20 skilled-nursing beds.
Northwest Architectural Co., of Spokane, designed both projects, and Walker Construction, also of Spokane, has been selected as the general contractor, Rockwood said in its statement.
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