Senior housing rises downtown

Vista Court apartment complex, with 76 units, to open in 2012




Construction is well under way at the $16.1 million Vista Court senior apartment complex in downtown Vancouver.

By early next year, the lumber and construction dust will give way to a four-story apartment complex on the southwest corner of West Mill Plain Boulevard and Esther Street. At that time, most of the building’s 76 housing units will be already spoken for, said Steve Towell, community relations manager with the project’s developer, the Vancouver Housing Authority.

The complex will likely fill quickly with low-income, independent seniors, age 62 and up. Most are now on the VHA’s waiting list of about 2,340 households eligible for its Section 8 rental assistance program. To qualify, residents must earn 30 to 60 percent less than Clark County’s annual median household income of $56,351.

Towell said about 254 senior households are specifically waiting for units at Vista Court.

“We do expect it to fill very quickly,” he said.

The project was designed as a companion to the VHA’s nearby Van Vista Assisted Living apartments, a 100-unit building that shares the same block.

“We knew it would benefit the management of our properties to have the two complexes next to each other,” Towell said.

Vancouver-based Key Property Services Inc. manages Van Vista’s 60 assisted-living units and 40 independent-living apartments.

A property management firm for Vista Court has not yet been selected, Towell said.

His agency foresees a growing need to build housing for seniors, who make up about 10 percent of Clark County’s population. As the baby boom generation ages, the percentage is expected to rise to one senior out of every five United States citizens over the next two decades, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

“There’s definitely going to be a need in the senior housing bracket, especially for low-income seniors,” Towell said.

Vista Court’s boomerang-shaped building will include two wings — one that borders Mill Plain and another bordering Daniels Street. The complex will include 72 one-bedroom units and only four two-bedroom apartments, all accessible via interior corridors that run the length of the building.

“Every unit has a kitchen and they all have patios and decks,” said Pat Robison, project supervisor for general contractor Walsh Construction Co.

Robison said the inside corner of the boomerang shape will become the building’s main entrance.

“On the main floor there’s a community room and a sitting room on the second floor,” he said.