With last month’s announcement that the project had met its $4.4 million fund-raising goal, the Castle Peak Senior Care project is set for a spring 2015 ground-breaking.
That means the western Eagle County region is primed for a big economic lift — both in construction jobs while the $23 million project is built and permanent jobs that come with operation of the facility.
Augustana Care, a Minnesota based nonprofit organization that owns and manages 23 senior care projects, is partnering with Eagle County to build the Castle Peak Senior Care Community. Augustana announced plans this week for a spring ground-breaking at its 5-acre site located immediately north of Brush Creek Elementary School in the Eagle Ranch neighborhood. The 62,000-square-foot project will include 22 skilled nursing beds, 20 assisted living apartments, 12 memory care beds and 10 transitional care units.
“Anything that brings in jobs — and the estimate is for 65 long-term jobs — is good for the town,” said Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney.
According to Kathy Kopp, vice president of new business development for Augusta Care, the annual operating budget for Castle Peak Senior Care is $6 million and the estimated annual payroll will be $3.5 million. That means that each month, approximately $292,0000 will paid to people working in Eagle and the obvious assumption is that a good portion of those dollars will then be spent on goods, services and housing in the community.
Even before the center opens, Jill Klosterman of Eagle County noted the Castle Peak Senior Care will be bringing money to the local economy in the form of 120 estimated construction jobs. “I think it will be a good driver for the local work force,” she said.
But the financial effect of Castle Peak Senior Care, the first facility of its type in Eagle County, reaches beyond the direct jobs impacts. Linda Venturoni, director of new business development for Augustana Care, said the facility will also positively affect the local economy by stemming the income lost from the area because people are forced to leave when needed services are not available. Additionally, she expects substantial secondary job creation related to Castle Peak Senior Care.
Income Effects of Senior Housing
Local leaders have been discussing the need for a senior care facility for decades, noting that long-time residents were forced to leave the area as they aged and their care needs deepened. Anecdotal evidence suggested that the local economy routinely lost many of its bedrock contributors — financially stable seniors who couldn’t get the care they needed. Back in 2012, a graduate student from Colorado State University analyzed the issue in depth.
In his report, economics masters student Greg Totten reported $28 million per year in Summit County and $43 million per year in Eagle County could be lost in potential income of residents who would rather stay if expanded local senior living opportunities were developed.
“We designed that study to make sure we got conservative numbers,” said Venturoni. “It was eye-opening.”
Venturoni noted the study did not include seniors who planned to leave the area for family or other considerations. “We looked specifically at seniors who wanted to stay in the county and weren’t given that option.”
She noted when seniors stay in the community, their money obviously stays with them. Their health care dollars go to local providers and their food, services and goods expenditures are much more likely to be spend at local retailers.
While the economic impact of seniors leaving the area is considerable, Stavney noted the community impact is even greater. “We know that Eagle is a great place for kids and families. Its the preferred place in this valley to raise kids,” he said. “ But healthy communities have a full spectrum of ages.”
“This project confirms Eagle as a great place, accessible for all generations, for families. It will help residents age in place and this project is going to allow people to stay in our community,” said Stavney.
Secondary Job Creation
By creating an estimated 65 jobs, Castle Peak Senior Care will have an obvious impact on the local economy. But its ability to generate secondary jobs may prove as important to the community, noted Venturoni.
For instance, she noted by having a senior care population in town that includes transition care, Eagle will likely see an increased demand for physical therapists and other medical professionals. Expanding that outward, she noted when seniors remain in a community there are entrepreneurial opportunities for handymen, seamstresses, home delivery businesses, lawn and garden services, computer technicians and financial planners.
“There are opportunities for all kinds things that help seniors stay in their homes longer,” Venturoni noted.
Additionally, when seniors reside at a care center, that means regular visits from family and friends. At the Castle Peak location, visitor numbers are expected to generate more pedestrian traffic for Eagle Ranch Village as residents enjoy lunch or dinner outings or a movie.
Venturoni noted that she spends a considerable amount of time at Augustana’s Elk River Senior Care project in Evergreen.
“I am amazed by how many different vans from the community that are pulling up during the day.”
From oxygen services, to food deliveries, to transportation providers, Venturoni said businesses are constantly dropping off products and the center itself is constantly offering opportunities for residents to venture out into the community.
“There is just a lot of hustle and bustle,” she said.
When is it coming?
Augustana Care originally hoped to break ground on the Castle Peak Senior Care Community this fall, but with colder temperatures already visiting the valley and winter conditions on the horizon, the company has decided to push back ground-breaking until spring.
In September Augustana announced Weitz Co. has been selected to manage construction for Castle Peak Senior Care Community. The Weitz Company is located in Denver and has significant experience in communities for older adults.
“Now that a construction manager is on board, next steps include submitting applications for various permits for approval and getting final construction costs for the project,” said Augustana Care CEO Tim Tucker.
“Once we get going, it will be exciting to see,” said Venturoni.
More information and periodic updates about Castle Peak Senior Care Community may be found at http://www.castlepeak.org.