Kaufman and Broad is staying busy in California California seniors will soon have more housing options to choose from as Long Beach, Calif.-based Kaufman and Broad Multi-Housing Group Inc. (KBMH) is developing three affordable apartment complexes for seniors in the state.

One of the projects is a yet-to-be-named 240-unit community in Norwalk that will feature a 20,000 sq. ft. recreation center to be owned and operated by the city and open to all local seniors. Completion of the apartments is scheduled for spring 2001, while the center will be finished this fall. Funding for the complex was made possible through $8 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), a $1.8 million loan from Los Angeles County and tax-exempt bonds issued by the California Housing Finance Agency. The development partnership also includes the City of Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, the 501(c)(3) Foundation for Affordable Housing and developer Rene Flores.

The complex will feature 128 garden-style and 112 courtyard apartments. Units will range in size from 535 sq. ft. to 720 sq. ft., and one- to two-bedroom floorplans will be available. Amenities will include patios and balconies, all-electric kitchens and a 24-hour emergency call system.

In other KBMH news, the $10 million, 132-unit Salinas Senior Apartments, in Salinas near Monterey Bay, is slated for completion in August. The community will offer one- and two-bedroom floorplans, and amenities will include a pool and whirlpool spa, controlled access gates, and laundry rooms. A partnership of KBMH and the San Jose, Calif.-based Community Homebuilders & Associates (CHA), a non-profit affiliate of the Building Industry Association, is developing the project. A combination of 4% federal LIHTCs and tax-exempt bonds is funding the community. Amenities will include a pool and whirlpool spa, controlled access gates and laundry rooms.

A third KBMH project, also in partnership with CHA, is Solano Vista Senior Apartments, a 96-unit complex in Vallejo in the San Francisco Bay area. The $9 million project, which is funded through 9% LIHTCs, is slated for completion in November.

Hostmark Hospitality gives birth to HostKare Schaumburg, Ill.-based Hostmark Hospitality Group has formed HostKare, a subsidiary designed to both develop and operate seniors housing communities. Charles Gavzer, executive vice president of operations for Hostmark, will head HostKare. HostKare's first facility, the 167-unit Bel Aire West in Las Vegas, will open this summer.

According to Hostmark, HostKare will develop and operate independent living communities that feature three daily meals, weekly housekeeping and scheduled transportation. The presence of large public areas designed to encouragesocializing will be a common theme among its facilities.

Bel Aire West will offer one- and two-bedroom floorplans. Each unit will contain an emergency call system, and individually-controlled heating and air conditioning. Other amenities will include a pool, computer library, putting green and community center.

Preservation trust buys Wisconsin complexes The Wisconsin Housing Preservation Trust has purchased four communities, totaling 351 units, that provide affordable housing for senior citizens and disabled individuals. All of the apartments are in Green Bay, Wis. R.E. Management of Green Bay will continue to manage all four complexes.

The complexes include: Port Plaza Towers, a 147-unit complex that is located in downtown Green Bay in the former Hotel Northland building; the 120-unit Badger Terrace, located on the west side of the city; the 48-unit Parkview Terrace, also in the west side of Green Bay; and the 36-unit Lime Tree Terrace, which sits in the eastern part of the city.

The preservation trust was created by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority - which has offices in Milwaukee and Madison, Wis. - in 1994 to preserve affordable housing communities. Three years later, it began to purchase affordable housing facilities. Bank One Wisconsin Trust Co. a division of Banc One Investment Advisors in Columbus, Ohio, serves as a trustee for the preservation trust and provides investment and management services.

Seniors Suites extends its Chicago empire Senior Suites Chicago Corp., an affiliate of Chicago-based Senior Lifestyle Corp. (SLC), has opened Senior Suites of Garfield Ridge, an 87-unit affordable apartment complex for seniors in suburban Chicago. Washington, D.C.-based Fannie Mae provided more than $3.7 million in equity financing for the community.

The complex offers studio and one-bedroom apartments, and amenities inlcude free washers and dryers, social activities and scheduled transportation. Each unit features an emergency response system, and all utilities except for telephone service are covered by the rent.

The community in Garfield Ridge is the seventh Seniors Suites facility to open in the Chicago area. An eighth is under construction in the Washington Heights neighborhood.

Third component of New Jersey complex opens Catonsville, Md.-based Erickson Retirement Communities has opened the third residential building at Seabrook Village, the company's retirement community in Tinton Falls, N.J. The opening of North Shore, a 154-unit building, brings the total number of apartments at Seabrook to 407.

The seven-story facility features studio, one- and two-bedroom units, and provides residents with a view of the complex's pool and courtyard. Seabrook features a central building that contains medical and dining facilities and is connected to the three residential towers.

Erickson will also break ground on its second New Jersey community, Cedar Crest Village, in Pequannock, this spring.

Wisconsin gets new assisted living facility The Meadowmere-Northshore Assisted Living Complex has opened in Mequon, Wis. The 60-unit, 54,000 sq. ft. facility was developed by Milwaukee-based Weas Development Co. and is operated by Premier Care Centers LLC, also of Milwaukee. Plunkett Raysich Architects in Milwaukee designed the project. The complex features a hair salon and media room.

Seniors housing construction takes a plunge If you have been tossing and turning at night lately, wondering how many seniors housing properties are being constructed in the United States in 2000, I have found the cure for your insomnia. It is the Washington, D.C.-based American Seniors Housing Association's (ASHA) Seniors Housing Construction Report 2000.

Perhaps the survey's most notable finding is that seniors housing construction is down substantially from 1999, both in the number of properties and in the number of units being built. In 1999, 591 properties were constructed; this year, that figure drops 46% to 320.

Last year, 65,879 units were built, while 35,305 units are being constructed in 2000 - again, a drop of 46%. Why the drop?

Ken Preede, senior policy analyst with ASHA, says one should look to the latter part of 1998 for an explantion of what is taking place today.

"I think you're seeing the effects of the capital crunch in late 1998," he says. "Second, a lot of the larger public companies have slowed down development and started focusing on operations. You've seen some slowdown in fill-up rates."

Preede predicts that 2001 will see another decrease in new construction or at best a leveling off. 2002 could bring an increase, depending on several factors, such as whether interest rates continue to rise, he adds.

Of all the numerous industry property types, congregate seniors housing without assisted living is the only one in which there is an increase in the number of properties and units compared to 1999. All of the other types experienced decreases of at least 20% in both properties and units.

As Preede explains, it is fairly simple to explain why there was an increase in congregate facilties without assisted living. It comes down to funding. "It's not easy to get funding for congregate facilities, but it's easier to find funding for something that looks like an apartment building rather than seniors housing."

The study also breaks down seniors housing construction by states. California, Texas and New Jersey come in first, second and third, respectively, in both the construction of properties and units.