Henderson approves plan for senior housing

With work on the new senior center at Heritage Park moving along, the city of Henderson and a non-profit developer have turned their attention to the future of the city’s existing senior center downtown.

Nevada HAND, a non-profit company that builds affordable housing developments, plans to build a 62-unit senior housing project on the site of the existing senior center, which is planned to be razed after the city has moved into the new one.

The City Council unanimously approved the plan Tuesday night. The project has a tentative budget of $12 million and could be under construction as soon as December.

Nevada HAND built Pacific Pines, the modern-looking senior apartment complex located behind the senior center, between Texas Avenue and Wyoming Avenue. The new project will be phase four of Pacific Pines.

Jacque Haas, real estate development manager for Nevada HAND, said the first three phases have been consistently full since they were built between 2004 and 2006. There is a long waiting list as well, she said.

"We felt, and I think the city felt also, that there was a need for additional affordable senior housing in the downtown area," Haas said.

Under the terms of the plan, Henderson will retain ownership of the project site’s 1.6 acres and sign a long-term lease with Nevada HAND. Financial details of the lease have not been established, city officials said.

As part of its arrangement with the city, Nevada HAND will build a senior activity center in the new phase that will be open to the public. Henderson Parks and Recreation will lease the space back from Nevada HAND and have full control over the classes and services offered there, Haas said.

"Even though we will have fantastic facilities at Heritage, with what Nevada Hand is doing and all the seniors who will be living in the area, we feel it’s important to maintain a presence downtown," Henderson Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Kim Becker said.

Becker said the city won’t know what kinds of programs and services it will offer in the building until it has a better idea of the space that will be available.

One service that the facility will offer, Haas said, will be a small warming kitchen that will allow it to continue offering food service by heating food prepared in the kitchen at the Heritage Senior Center.

Now that Nevada HAND has the approval of the city, it will begin seeking grants from federal, state and local government, Haas said.

With the recession leaving more people and organizations looking for assistance, Haas said, it will not be an easy task to secure funding. "The funding we go after is competitive, but it was competitive before the market did what it did," she said.

Rent for the 62 units will not be determined until funding is in place, Haas said. The apartments will serve seniors who make less than 60 percent of the area median income.

Jeremy Twitchell can be reached at 990-8928 or jeremy.twitchell@hbcpub.com.

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