Spokane Journal of Business

110-unit senior-living complex to be built in Spokane Valley

Construction scheduled to wrap by fall of 2022

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Olympia-based RJ Development LLC is planning a new 110-unit senior-living community in Spokane Valley.

Ron Hastie, partner and president of the company, says the multistory community will have 80 units of traditional assisted living and 30 units of memory care. In total, the facility will be able to house 136 residents, as a number of the memory care units will be designed as “Jack and Jill” suites, where two residents share a bathroom but have their own sleeping quarters, he says.

The complex, which is yet to be named, will be located at 16512 E. Desmet Court, in Spokane Valley, about a mile east of the Spokane Valley Mall, on property owned by Spokane development company Hanson Industries Inc. 

It will have a combination of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units.

The total construction valuation of the project is estimated around $20 million, Hastie says, but factoring in the soft costs, such as furnishing and initial hires to get the facility started, brings the price tag to around $44 million.

It will be operated by Olympia-based Fields Senior Living, a family-owned senior-living company. Fields Senior Living currently operates four senior-living communities in the western U.S., with two locations each in California and Oregon. The company’s website shows it has a fifth senior-living facility under construction in Arlington, Washington.

By the time it opens, the senor-living complex will create 60 to 70 full-time equivalent positions, which will include the executive director, moving coordinators, and nurses. The company also will employ a 24-hour onsite nurse, Hastie adds.

Other onsite amenities will include two separate outdoor, enclosed courtyards for both the memory care and assisted-living communities, Hastie says.

“We’re big on outdoor amenities,” he says. “It’s really good for our residents to be outdoors so we’ve created interior courtyards.”

The courtyards themselves will host water features, an antique car, gathering places for family, and space for outdoor activities when the weather is nice, he says.

A centrally located bistro is also included in the plans as a gathering space for residents, he says. The community will have a spacious dining room capable of hosting large events, a beauty salon, a library, an activity center, a television room, and a theater room, he adds.

In total, the building is expected to have about 122,000 square feet of floor space. 

The property itself is segmented with a retaining wall dividing the property into two levels, explains Hastie. The lower level will house the memory care facility with three levels of assisted living above, while the upper portion of the property will house three additional floors of assisted living.

“Construction costs right now are at an all-time high,” Hastie says. “That is a risk in these deals and a number of these projects that we’ve done over the past couple of years. It’s been iffy whether or not a project starts to be feasible just because of the very high construction costs.”

RJ Development designed the preliminary concept, and has hired Brent Lambeth, of Seattle-based Brent Lambeth Architect LLC, for the final design, Hastie says. A contractor hasn’t been selected, but Hastie says the company has three senior-housing specialist contractors it typically works with on such projects. If those contractors can’t fit the project into their schedules, the company likely will send the project out to bid in March and select a local contractor, Hastie says.

Whipple Consulting Engineers Inc., of Spokane Valley, is providing civil and landscape engineering services, Alpine Engineering, of Hayden, is providing structural engineering services, and Dumais Romans Inc., also of Spokane Valley, is providing mechanical and plumbing services.

Work is expected to begin in summer of 2021, and the senior-living complex will take upwards of 16 months to construct, he says.

Hastie says he selected the location for the development because he identified Spokane Valley as growing midsized community with unmet demand for senior facilities.

The site also is near several medical care facilities, as well as retail centers that provide for easy access to everyday needs, he says.

A typical senior housing community maintains at least a 93% occupancy in a healthy market, though with the COVID-19 pandemic and its reportedly rapid transmission through similar communities, there has been a decline in occupancy at such facilities, Hastie contends.

“COVID has affected that in the short term,” he contends. “We’re finding some people are just nervous about mom or dad moving into a community. … We believe that the dam is building, and at some point, when it breaks, there’ll be a big influx.” 

RJ Development has built about 40 communities over the past 14 years in the western U.S.

Natasha Nellis
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Reporter Natasha Nellis joined the Journal in May 2018 and covers real estate and construction. Natasha is an avid reader and loves taking photos, traveling, and learning new languages.

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