Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Area Housing Supply Adequate for Older Population

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Area Housing Supply Adequate for Older Population

Article excerpt

With its moderate climate and relatively low cost of living, Oklahoma City long has been considered a desirable location for independent retirement living.

Yet while reports show Oklahoma's aging population is growing, there seems to be an adequate bed supply in the state, "as evidenced by an occupancy rate in the mid-80 percentile," said Brent VanMeter, deputy commissioner for special health services for the Oklahoma Health Planning Commission.

Bruce Thevenot, director of the Oklahoma Nursing Home Association, agreed that the current market is adequate to meet the demand, and does not expect significant new nursing home construction in Oklahoma City until the late 1990s and first part of the next century. Some older facilities may be replaced, he said, but that is part of the cycle.

While there has been construction in the retirement center sector, Thevenot does not expect it to continue at the same pace.

"I think we've reached a plateau in retirement housing until it becomes clear that those that were built will become profitable," he said. "They have made a marketing judgement that may or may not be correct."

In the last year, four projects of multi-family retirement housing have received building permits for a total of 513 units, and three of the four projects are owned by churches. Permits were issued for:

- Canterbury Living Center, 1400 NW 122nd St., in March 1988. The 52-unit center is owned by the Episcopal Retirement Community Inc.

- The 58-unit Oklahoma City VOA Elderly Housing Inc., 7507 S. Ross Ave., in June 1988.

- Tealridge Manor, 2100 NE 140th St., in January 1989. Oklahoma Christian College Investment Corp. is the owner of the 169-unit complex.

- Epworth Villa, 15001 N. Pennsylvania Ave., in May 1988. The 234-unit center to be built for $30 million is owned by the Central Oklahoma United Methodist Retirement Facility Inc., which has five retirement homes and long-term care facilities in this area.

In a life care program like Epworth Villa, residents pay an entrance fee, that can range from $39,000 to more than $100,000, and a monthly service fee. If the resident needs to move to an assisted-living unit or to the on-site nursing center, the monthly fee remains the same. This protects residents from the financial risk of nursing center costs, officials said.

About 68 percent of the apartments in Epworth Villa have been reserved, said Carol Rand, marketing director for Retirement Centers of America Inc., consultant for Epworth Villa. The only other life care facility in this area is Spanish Cove in Yukon, she said. …

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