Heritage Heights looks to expand into memory care, adding additional facility in Manson

MANSON - Patti Westby, Timi Starkweather and others presented a feasibility report on converting rooms in Heritage Heights to a memory care facility and purchasing Manson Bay Suites to convert the hotel rooms to independent and assisted living, to community members June 23 at North Shore Bible Church and on zoom.

Westby works for Westby Associates in Vancouver Washington, which conducted a feasibility study on creating a memory care facility and converting the hotel to assisted living.

Westby consulted many businesses and individuals in the feasibility study including Congresswoman Kim Schrier, Rep. Mike Steele, Chelan County Commissioners Tiffrany Gering and Kevin Overbay and the mayor of Chelan Bob Goedde.The project is estimated to cost $7.47 million. This should be paid for in large part by a loan from the USDA. USDA grants are smaller, around $25,000, while USDA loans go up $2 million, Westby said.

Wheatland Bank has said they are interested in partnering with Heritage Heights as a bridge funder until the money is received from the USDA loan, Westby said. However, before the bank funds the project they need the USDA to guarantee the loan, she said.

“We need $1.5 million [more] to close on the purchase of the hotel,” Westby said. “The timing of our funding may not meet our October deadline which is why I will continue looking for gifts…This hotel purchase is very real now and we need some help [obtaining] the $1.5 million.”

The more money fundraised the less debt the memory care center will be in, Westby said. The Washington Department of Commerce has already given the project a $1 million grant and $50,000 has been accessed from Senate Bill 1406 which provides funding for affordable housing.

Converting the first 11 Heritage Heights rooms to memory care has already been funded, Westby said, and she is continuing to seek private and public funding.

According to a study of 62 community opinion leaders, 96 percent had already heard of Heritage Heights. 98 percent of community leaders wanted the project to be financially sustainable and 96 percent wanted Heritage Heights to expand their services.

Many community partners have said that they will provide a large amount of funding once the project is more solidified and their concerns are listened to, Westby said. Currently, there are no options for more intensive care for seniors in the Chelan area.

Community members surveyed said that they are concerned about the costs of the project and worry that cost estimates to create a memory care facility are too low when rising costs are considered, Westby said.

Mike Campeau, president of Careage construction, a company which has built senior living facilities for over fifty years, addressed cost concerns.

“We have a history of bringing senior living projects in on time and on budget,” Campeau said.

The cost of the project is planned in three phases to control cost and is based on both historical and current costs of constructing senior living with inflation taken into account, he said.

The first phase of renovating Heritage Heights is converting 11assisted living units to memory care. The second phase includes renovating the second floor and converting the 19 remaining rooms to memory care. The third phase is to be determined, depending on the availability of funds, but includes external remodels.

Careage is able to work with subcontractors early in the process to obtain materials needed to build the facility, Campeau said. This helps the project to get materials before the costs of materials go up.

The second concern that the community has is safety and security, Westby said. Sarah Jones, acting Executive Director of Heritage Heights, said that staff are certified and well-trained to address senior needs. Currently Heritage Heights has alarms on building doors and the doors of certain residents who have memory issues, Jones said.

Heritage Heights coordinates with many other providers like occupational therapists, home health and hospice in order to keep seniors safe and healthy, she said. Hertiage Heights is working on retaining and recruiting staff and has a good record of retaining employees, Jones  said.

The third concern was fiscal responsibility and sustainability. Potential community donors are concerned that the project will acquire too much debt and worry that the facility has not been fiscally responsible in the past, Westby said. Randy Trettevik, Chief Financial Officer of Senior Services of America, which has been consulting with Heritage Heights, discussed budgetary concerns.

Trettevik said that it is hard to get such a small facility like Heritage Heights to be financially sustainable. Additionally, the community of Chelan itself is small and the facility has a large percentage of Medicare patients, which makes funding difficult, he said.

Trettevik said that a company he consulted found that Chelan has a potential demand for 250 senior care units, including assisted care, memory care and independent living. He said that Heritage Heights has done a good job of making ends meet and building up a surplus, which is currently at $600,000.

He said that renovating Heritage Heights and buying hotel property is financially viable based on a five year forecast and that the hotel units are easily converted to assisted or independent living. To convert the rooms, the hotel would need a commercial kitchen, elevators, and conversion of baths to walk in showers.

Based on the cashflow that the units are capable of generating, it will be about $2 million above purchase price of the hotel, Trettevik said. Buying the hotel will be cheaper than buying other property and building a whole new building, he said.

The final concern was the amount of initiatives in Chelan that need funding. There are many other projects in the community which are also asking for donors. Starkweather said that the Westby group has been very successful in securing grants and funding.  She said that the campaign is important because Chelan needs to keep its seniors.

“Many hands make light work. That's why we're here,” Starkweather said. “We want community involvement.”

The need for senior living in Chelan is so great that the community has to find a way to move the project forward, Starkweather said.



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