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Cottage Grove senior housing project advances

An 86-unit senior housing project in Cottage Grove is moving forward with plans to break ground this fall, and the operators pledge to make the facility part of the community.

Plans for Summerhill Crossing got Cottage Grove City Council approval last week. A similar concept plan was introduced a year ago, but the project was delayed by investment and operational components, according to the city.

In approving a conditional use permit and site plan, Mayor Myron Bailey applauded developers for their efforts to make the building design blend in with the surrounding neighborhood.

The facility will be built on the vacant, 4.38-acre site at the northwest corner of Hinton Avenue and 70th Street, near the Holiday gas station and Summerhill Professional Building on Pine Arbor Drive.

Some design changes were made since the concept plan was introduced last year. The center of the building will be three stories and will taper to two stories on the building’s two wings.

Also, the site layout was changed to allow for separate driveways for deliveries and for use by residents with underground parking. There are 50 underground parking spaces and an additional 44 surface lot spaces for residents. Main access to the facility will be Pine Arbor Drive.

The building’s exterior includes more stone, brick and architectural shingles than originally planned. A waterfall-like feature will face the corner of 70th Street and Hinton Avenue.

“The building’s presenting itself better,” Cottage Grove Senior Planner John Burbank said of the design improvements.

Of the 86 units, 14 will be for memory care residents and 72 will be for assisted or independent living. Memory care units will be on the first floor, and a memory care courtyard is planned. Individual unit square footage will range from 335 to 1,068.

Summerhill Crossing is expected to open in August or September of 2015, said Della Kolpin, a senior partner at Mesaba Capital Partners, which is developing the facility.

Summerhill Crossing will be managed by Augustana Care, a nonprofit senior housing and health care organization. Its nearest facility is the Park Ridge housing facility in Hastings, where it also operates an adjacent health care center.

Augustana Care officials said the organization will be a part of the Cottage Grove community. It will participate in city events and festivals and it will open its doors to the community for health care speakers. Summerhill Crossing’s bistro and beauty shop also will be open to the public.

“We mold our activities, our functions, our buildings around the community,” said Mary Jo Thorne, Augustana Care’s regional director of housing.

Certain areas of the building will be open to the public — including community meeting space — and Augustana Care will have volunteer opportunities.

St. Paul-based Pope Architects is designing the project. It also designed the Norris Square senior living facility on at Grange Boulevard and Hadley Avenue.

Summerhill Crossing will offer approximately 80 jobs, said Dave Saemrow, Augustana Care’s vice president of marketing and public relations.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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