Spokane Journal of Business

Avamere settles into South Hill neighborhood

Renovations are nearly finished following delays during pandemic era

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-—Karina Elias
Residents at Avamere at South Hill share a meal on a recent weekday. As of earlier this month, 70 people lived at the retirement complex and 40 people worked there.
-—Karina Elias
Avamere’s Jackson Williams says the South Hill complex is 87% occupied currently. Not surprisingly, he says, most of its residents hail from Eastern Washington.

At Avamere at South Hill, the resident council meets regularly, leading and influencing the activities and amenities enjoyed by the 70 residents of the assisted-living community, says Jackson Williams, senior director of sales and outreach for the retirement complex.

“For those who are civically engaged … they can still continue that level of engagement and be of service to their community,” he says. “And for those who maybe that isn’t their cup of tea, they’re able to reap the benefits of structure to ensure their voice is heard.”

Residents of Avamere can be seen enjoying tea socials, for example, or gardening on the grounds as part of the green thumber’s club, watching a matinee, doing expressive arts, or joining a walking club to stay fit, says Williams.

The 79-unit community occupies a 4-acre site at 3708 E. 57th, in the Moran Prairie neighborhood, and is the fourth senior assisted-living facility in Washington state owned and operated by the Wilsonville, Oregon-based Avamere Family of Companies. The retirement community has 40 employees consisting of nurses, medical technicians, caregivers, a kitchen crew, and administrative personnel.

As earlier reported by the Journal, the South Hill location is one of six such retirement communities that Avamere Family of Companies purchased from Brentwood, Tennessee-based Brookdale Senior Living Inc. in 2018. The transaction includes other operations in Yakima and Moses Lake.

According to Spokane County Assessor’s office, the property was purchased for $3.1 million by WA4 South Hill LLC in September 2018. The facility is now operated by Spokane Operations LLC.

Williams declines to disclose Avamere’s projected annual revenue.

Renovations of the facility are nearly complete, says Williams. Work on the upgrades began in February of 2020, but with the onset of the pandemic, it has taken over three years amid worker shortages, supply-chain issues, and other delays for the upgrades to be completed, he says.

The facility received all new carpeting, a new kitchen, a new roof, new furniture for the community’s shared spaces, the addition of a fitness and therapy gym, and other interior improvements, he says. In all, the cost of the improvements totals about $545,000.

“We’re about 90% done with the remodel,” says Williams. “There are just a few furniture pieces we are still waiting on.”

Avamere at South Hill is shaped like the letter H to help residents orient and navigate their surroundings, says Williams. The center of the two-story facility is where the common areas, such as the lounge and dining hall, are located, while the residents’ quarters occupy two parallel wings.

The facility offers four styles of apartment homes that include a 270-square-foot studio apartment starting at $3,739 per month to 690-square-foot two-bedroom apartments starting at $6,138 per month. 

Each apartment has a bathroom designed with wide doors, easy shower access, and safety grab bars. The basic rate includes all utilities, weekly housekeeping services, cable, telephone, yard maintenance, garbage and recycling, and three home-cooked meals a day served in the center’s Palouse dining room.

Avamere at South Hill was recently at 87% capacity, says Williams. The community accepts private payments and a limited number of Medicaid options.

“I would say it’s a rarity for a community to be at 100% capacity consistently,” says Williams.

New residents will also pay a one-time community fee of $2,500, and if they have a pet, a one-time $800 pet fee. For residents who wish to add a partner or second resident, there is a fee of $880 per month.

Before new residents arrive, an individualized care plan is created for them that combines feedback from family members and from the resident’s medical team, such as their primary-care physician or any other type of specialist, says Williams.

The resident population is comprised of people aged in their 50s and older, and residents hail mostly from Eastern Washington, says Williams.

“We’ve got a diverse, active community in terms of age, socioeconomic status,” says Williams. “It’s really a melting pot.”

As part of their onboarding, each resident also is given a concierge pendant, or supportive pendant, that a resident can use to call for assistance, says Williams.

The pendant is most commonly known as a button to press when someone has fallen but can also be used to call for other requests, he adds.

“It’s also used for things like calling for help with television, or a cup of ice for a nightcap,” says Williams.

Community amenities include an onsite beauty salon that offers $20 haircuts for men and $30 haircuts for women, in addition to perm and color services. While the large social rooms are in the center of the community, there are also small lounge areas outside the residents’ quarters equipped with board games and other activities, says Williams.

On the first floor, the resident council has created a library space with chairs and tables. Avamere at South Hill also is partnered with the Spokane County Library District, which brings the library’s bookmobile onsite once a month. Residents are then able to check out materials and renew items for up to five months if there is no other hold on the material, says Williams.

Avamere of South Hill residents are within walking distance to the Safeway Shopping Center, and just outside the community’s driveway is a Dairy Queen and a Zip Trip convenience store, says Williams.

Moreover, the facility offers frequent transportation to the nearby retail stores or downtown. Medical transportation is offered on Wednesday and Thursdays within a 10-mile radius.

Karina Elias
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Reporter Karina Elias covers the banking and finance industry. A California native, she attended the University of California at Santa Barbara. Karina loves salsa dancing, traveling, baking, cuddling with her dog, and writing creative fiction and non-fiction.  

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