Wednesday, March 3, 2021
March 3, 2021

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University Village breaks ground near Salmon Creek

Senior living center to include independent and assisted living

By , Columbian business reporter
Published:
5 Photos
Concept art from Koelsch Communities shows the planned design of a new senior living facility in Salmon Creek called University Village. The $108 million project broke ground in January and is targeted  to open 2022.
Concept art from Koelsch Communities shows the planned design of a new senior living facility in Salmon Creek called University Village. The $108 million project broke ground in January and is targeted to open 2022. (Illustrations courtesy of Koelsch Communities) Photo Gallery

Koelsch Communities has kicked off construction of a $108 million development that will establish a new senior living center called University Village in the Salmon Creek area. The project broke ground in January and is scheduled to open in 2022.

University Village — named in reference to the nearby Washington State University Vancouver campus — is being built on a previously undeveloped site at 12921 N.E. Rockwell Drive, off of Northeast 134th Street to the east of the commercial Gateway Medical Campus and about a quarter of a mile southeast of the Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center. The project is being developed by Koelsch and RJ Development and will be managed by Koelsch.

The company announced the project in a press release last week, touting it both as a community for seniors and an employment opportunity for local caregivers. The facility is expected to employ about 100 people, according to the press release, including nurses, 24-hour support staff and in-house chefs.

The 365,000- square-foot campus will include 140 independent living units and 26 cottage-style units, along with 101 assisted-living apartments. The two primary buildings will be called The Inn at University Village, which will focus on assisted living, and The Park at University Village, which will focus on independent living.

In addition to standard utilities, on-site amenities will include housekeeping, transportation, a concierge service and “regular excursions,” according to the press release.

The campus is the fourth Vancouver-area project from Koelsch Communities. The first was an assisted living facility called Cascade Inn, built in 1979, followed by an assisted living and memory care facility called The Hampton and Ashley Inn in 1993 and a memory care facility called The Hampton at Salmon Creek that opened in 2013.

The first two facilities are in east Vancouver, and the Hampton at Salmon Creek is on Northeast 129th Street, on the other side of Interstate 205 from the planned University Village site.

“Our team is dedicated, professional, and clearly passionate about caring for our aging population,” Koelsch Communities president and CEO Aaron Koelsch said in a statement. “We have been caring for people since 1958, and we are committed to dignity, respect and the highest standards of service for our residents.”

The University Village project has been in planning since 2019, according to the company. Koelsch purchased the property from Walmart, which had previously sought to build a shopping center on the site. The Fairgrounds Neighborhood Association objected to the plan and the Clark County commission denied the project in 2007, according to a report in The Columbian. Walmart challenged the decision in court and prevailed in 2010, but ultimately never moved forward with the project.

Koelsch Communities is headquartered in Olympia and operates 35 senior living facilities with about 3,000 residents across eight states, some of which offer assisted living or memory care. University Village is one of six additional projects currently in development. The company’s first senior facility was a nursing home in Kelso, opened in 1958.

The Salmon Creek area near the junction of Interstates 5 and 205 has seen a significant amount of commercial development in the years following the 2005 opening of the Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center. The Washington State Department of Transportation built a new overpass and interchange with I-5 for Northeast 139th Avenue in 2013 to relieve traffic pressure on the 134th Avenue corridor.

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