Spokane Journal of Business

Retiring in Lilacs

Senior-living community offers activities, events

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-—Samantha Peone
Glen Pierce, CEO of Spokane Baptist Association Homes, which own Lilac Plaza and the neighboring Lilac Terrace Retirement Community.
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-—Samantha Peone
Lilac Plaza resident Larry Enloe has lived at the North Side complex for 14 years. He says he has enjoyed the annual Wii bowling tournament in recent years.
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Larry Enloe thinks everybody should look into Lilac Plaza Retirement Community LLC.

“I love it … they have everything,” says Enloe, who has resident of the 14-floor independent-living retirement community for nine years.

Enloe says he likes to carve and paint, and he also has been enjoying the Wii bowling tournaments Lilac Plaza offers every year.

Glen Pierce, CEO of Spokane Baptist Association Homes, which owns Lilac Plaza, says the bowling tournaments started out as an event between the association’s retirement communities that grew to an all-city affair.

“Every six weeks during the spring to fall months, we have a big city-wide tournament. We usually end up with 13 to 15 retirement communities, probably 150 bowlers. We set up eight specific lanes, and everybody bowls. Then we cater lunch after it, and away they go,” says Pierce. “They seem to really like that.”

The annual bowling tournament is just one event Lilac Plaza residents can participate in, he says. The retirement complex also has access to Lake Pend Orielle every summer, and residents enjoy a barbecued lunch and relax on a pontoon boat.

As for some other activities, residents can sign up for a bus that takes them shopping weekly, and groups have monthly lunch outings, “So there’s always something going on,” he says.

Located at 7007 N. Wiscomb, on Spokane’s North Side, Lilac Plaza caters to low-income seniors aged 62 or older, says Pierce. The building is connected by an enclosed corridor to Lilac Terrace Retirement Community LP, also owned by the nonprofit Spokane Baptist Association Homes. Residents can access amenities offered by both facilities, says Pierce. 

Those amenities include a café, dining services, a library, housekeeping, and resident gardens.

Lilac Plaza has 174 units consisting of 125 studio apartments and 49 one-bedroom units. Lilac Terrace consists of 50 units, eight of which have two bedrooms, and the rest are one-bedroom units.

Together, Lilac Plaza and Lilac Terrace have 15 employees, including office and maintenance staff.

Lilac Plaza and Lilac Terrace typically cater to lower income seniors, and a number of homeless people have been housed there recently.

“We’ve gotten referrals through Goodwill and other sources out there,” he says.

To be eligible for Lilac Plaza or Lilac Terrace, potential residents must have annual incomes of less than 30 percent, 50 percent, or 60 percent of the median area income, depending on the particular unit.

According to Spokane County’s website, those income figures are currently $13,700, $22,850, and $27,420, respectively, for a single resident.

Pierce says rent in Lilac Plaza and Lilac Terrace units is 30 percent of the resident’s income, although Lilac Plaza offers 17 market rate one-bedroom units for seniors who exceed median area income limits. Rent for those units  caps at $800 per month.

Pierce says Lilac Plaza and Lilac Terrace maintain an occupancy rate of about 98 percent, a rate he estimates is common industrywide.

Lilac Plaza was built in 1972 to accommodate a number of Baptist missionaries who were retiring and seeking affordable housing, he says. Lilac Terrace was built in 2009 to address a community need for affordable housing.

Spokane Baptist Association Homes also operates Holman Gardens Retirement Community LLC, at 12912 E. 12th in Spokane Valley. The retirement community, which also provides affordable housing, has a total of 96 units, says Pierce. 

Additionally, the association manages two duplexes across from Lilac Plaza for seniors who make between 60 percent and 100 percent of median area income.

Looking forward, Pierce says Lilac Plaza and Lilac Terrace will work to accommodate new residents’ evolving expectations.

Wii bowling, however, will stay the same, he says.

Samantha Peone
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Reporter Samantha Peone joined the Journal in 2015 as research coordinator before later transitioning into a reporter role. She covers real estate and construction.

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