THE HERALD BULLETIN
BY KEN DE LA BASTIDE
ANDERSON – The first step toward the construction of an affordable assisted living facility has been cleared. The Anderson City Council and the Economic Development Commission both passed a resolution recently for Sweet Galilee Wigwam LLC to obtain up to $21 million in tax exempt bonds.
Marghan Hobbs, project manager for BWI, said the project has an estimated cost of $29 million. Construction is scheduled to start Sept. 1, with a planned opening in January 2021. The city has to approve the bond issue, which is being sought by BWI, but Anderson’s credit rating is not impacted and the city is not responsible for any of the payments.
BWI is planning to construct 127 apartment units on property directly west of the Wigwam complex and to the east of the recently opened Fieldhouse Apartments.
Indianapolis attorney Matt Carr said the apartments will be attractive to the 60-70% of area senior citizens who can’t afford to pay for assisted living. He explained that a portion of the monthly rent will be paid through Medicaid waivers approved by Indiana, reducing the monthly cost to $646 for a studio apartment and $1,283 for a one-bedroom unit.
Carr said BWI has been approved for a 4% low-income housing tax credit, which has been purchased, and Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust is planning to purchase the $21 million in tax exempt bonds.
Anderson city attorney Tim Lanane told the Economic Development Commission that the project will benefit the city by providing affordable living for seniors and creating jobs. Gardant Management Solutions based in Illinois will operate the facility, Carr said.
Hobbs said the facility will employ as many as 65 people full time. “They (Gardant) will try to hire as many local people as possible,” she said. David Umpleby, bond counsel with Krieg Devault, said not many projects like this fail; that’s because of the diligence of the tax credit investor and the bond purchaser.
Carr said 40 states have the Medicaid waiver to provide financial assistance to place people over the age of 62 in assisted living facilities. “This is the future,” he said.
Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, told the council he is a strong supporter of the project. “This will be high-quality living space for our seniors at a reduced price,” he explained.
There will be 45 studio units of 356 square feet and 82 one-bedroom apartments of 510 square feet. Each unit will have a kitchenette, individual heating and air conditioning, an emergency alert system and bathrooms with grab bars and showers. The residents will be provided with three meals a day. The facility will include housekeeping and laundry services, assistance with medication, exercise area, library, entertainment center, transportation and a beauty/barber salon.