The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on February 2, 1986 · Page 53
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 53

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, February 2, 1986
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Page 53
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The Salina Journal Sunday, February 2,1986 Page S17 Boomlet in retirement housing set to burst upon Salina By JIM BOLE Staff Writer ; A cloud of skepticism and uncertainty hangs over five proposed retirement housing projects in Salina, according to some local officials. But developers say those clouds will not stop their housing projects, which are all scheduled to . begin construction this year. The five projects — four apartment buildings and a group of fourplexes (all of which would provide more than 400 living units) — are part of a recent trend in retirement housing known as ;"independent living," said Jerry Waldschmidt, president of Drury Corp., which plans to build a 59- unit apartment building in Salina. '• Two of the projects are being built by and near : nursing homes. Another includes a 60-bed nursing 'center. Housing Oldest building built in 1860 Simeon Garlitz (Garlet), Salina's first carpenter, raised his shop on Santa Fe, near the northeast corner of the intersection with Iron, in March of 1860. The siding and shingles were hewn from oaks and walnuts growing along the Smoky Hill River. The door and windows were hauled from Leavenworth by a team of oxen. After the turn of the century, while located on North Fifth Street, the building was covered with the corrugated metal that it wears today at 207 N. Front. It is the oldest building in Salina. All the projects plan to rent housing to senior citizens who cannot afford to live by themselves in homes or apartments, and also do not need the extensive medical care offered by nursing homes. Although they will not have medical services, the projects will offer some services such as meals, laundry and housecleaning. Most of the projects also plan to have group activities. If the five proposed projects are built, more than 500 senior citizens could rent housing at $500 to $900 a month. "I'm skeptical," said Hanne Middleton, director of the Saline County Commission on Aging. "I don't see an immediate need for all these complexes, and they just aren't in the price range of the average person." More support services, such as public transportation, arid more rent-subsidized housing projects are a greater need of the approximately 8,000 to 9,000 Salinans over 55, Middleton said. Bob Armour manages Salina's two rent- subsidized retirement apartments, Johnstown Towers and Oakdale Plaza. He agrees with Middleton. Developers will have to create a need for the projects, and Armour doesn't think they will be able to sell the new idea in housing to older Kansans, Armour said. Keith Rawlings, director of Salina's city plan- ning department, said, "There's not enough demand for them in Salina, so I suppose they'll draw from the surrounding area, but I'm not sure that even those people will be able to afford those kinds of prices." Gary Talley, who is building a group of four- plexes and a nursing center at College Park Village, said most prospective tenants of the projects will be homeowners who would sell their homes to supplement income from their pensions. Many people in retirement cannot afford the operating expenses and other associated costs of a home, even though the home is paid for, Talley said. Randy Speaker, another developer, said a preliminary market study indicated there was a demand for retirement housing in the $500 to $800 a month range from people in a four- to six-county area surrounding Salina. Besides the rents being too expensive, critics and some developers say having five projects starting at the same time will result in some of them never being started or failing soon after they open. "It is unusual to have all these projects going up at once," said Waldschmidt, who operates two apartment complexes similar to the one he plans to build in Salina. The largest of the projects, a 152-unit apartment complex planned by Independent Living Centers of North America, has been indefinitely delayed by legal snarls in obtaining $13.3 million in multiple family housing bonds, according to Speaker, one of the firm's partners. Projects on the drawing board 1 — McColl Manor 66-unit apartment complex in the 600 block of S. Third. Builder: Windsor Estates, 623 S. Third. Tax-exempt bonds: none Status: Construction to begin soon: open by midsummer. 2 — Kenwood View 16-unit apartment complex in the 900 block of Elmhurst. Builder: Beverly Enterprises, Fort Smith, Ark. Tax-exempt bonds: none Status: Construction to begin in spring; open by October. 3 — Independent Living Center of Salina 152-unit apartment complex at the end of Faith Drive. Builder: Independent Living Centers of North American, Lexington, Ky., Finances: Legal snarls in obtaining $13.3 million in tax-exempt bonds. Status: Construction to begin in spring: open by mid-1989. 4 —Drury Place 59-unit apartment complex at 900 block of Schippel Drive. Builder: Drury Corp., Topeka. Tax-exempt bonds: $2.5 million Status: Construction to begin soon; open by fall. 5 — College Park Village 120 units grouped in fourplexes plus a 60-bed nursing center in the 1200 block of Schilling Rood. Builder: Realty Management Investment Co., Salina. Tax-exempt bonds: $6 million Status: Remodeling of fourplexes has started; open by summer. Robert Entrlken Jr. 1985 housing turnaround didn't happen, but optimism continues '• By CECELIA HARRIS I Staff Writer •: The roof caved in on the theory that 11985 would bring a turnaround in a islumped housing industry, but Salina ;real estate agents and homebuilders /believe the power of positive thinking ;is the foundation for an optimistic ;1986. ; A review of building permits issued ;last year shows a decrease in con- 'struction of single and multiple fam: ily dwellings. Dollar volume in home sales also was slightly lower than ;i984. • Dave Antrim of Coldwell-Banker/ iAntrim-Piper-Wenger Realtors said ; he believes the positive outlook for •1985 dwindled as several projects, such as the Central Mall, became ; stalled during the year. ; Now that construction of the mall • and the Holidome is under way and is almost completed at Skaggs Alpha Beta, Antrim said, residents are feeling better about Salina. The arrival of new employers, such as El- Dorado Motor Corporation and the Army National Guard's 435th General Support Aviation Company, and the expansion of existing businesses add to this concrete base for enthusiasm. "These types of things fuel op: timism," Antrim said. "There is a more positive feeling amongst the ; public, or at least the home buyers, ;and they're more optimistic about the local economy." ; Roy Presley of Presley Builders agrees this type of attitude is a building block for future improvements in the industry and for the community as well. "We need to get people thinking positively about Salina instead of negatively." When residents feel secure about their jobs, interest rates are low and there is a good supply of houses on the market, people begin to think about changing homes, Antrim said. Interest rates began to decline in early 1985 and have since stabilized, providing incentive for home purchases. The number of people attending open houses during the first week in January was up significantly, he said, although some January increase may be attributed to usual declines of traffic during the holiday season. Most of the potential buyers are not interested in renovating a home, but prefer those in good condition. The average sale price of a home through his agency was between $50,000 and $55,000. Prices on existing homes have been stable, Antrim said, but the cost of labor and building supplies for a new home has continued to increase. There were between 275 and 300 pre-owned homes for sale at any given time during the year, providing an excellent selection for potential buyers, he said. Only 62 single-family dwellings were built in 1985, however. Realtors to move into new home The Salina Board of Realtors will be moving into a new building at the corner of Ohio and Gypsum Streets the first of March. Its present location is the Great Plains Building, which soon will be razed as part of the downtown redevelopment. John Heline, building chairman, said the brick colonial-style building will cost $60,000 and will provide the board with plenty of office space. "It had been in our long-range plans to build an office of our own," Heline said, "even before the Business Improvement District decided to tear (the Great Plains Building) down." GEARED FOR We're proud to be a part of a com- \ munity with dedicated people concerned with the economic growth of Salina & the surrounding area. Because of today's accomplishments tomorrow's future is assured. 11OO West Ash, Salina Monty Dm It Phil DeMars, working on a Lee Haworth Construction project, fills in nail holes with colored putty. Speculative building slowed down when interest rates soared and the market slowed, Presley said, but these houses will continue to be built for those individuals moving into the community who want a new home. Therefore, new industry in Salina is vital to "dramatically change" the housing industry, said Bob Haworth of Haworth Construction Co. When the economy is stronger and there are more jobs, the demand for housing increases and existing homes will have cost inflation, Antrim said. Home buyers then will be able to build a house to suit their needs and desires for a few extra dollars. The number of custom-built homes already is increasing. Haworth said new home buyers are looking for "something different." Many ask for a cathedral ceiling, skylights, up-to-date interior design, or utilities upstairs. New homes must have "something with spark." Ranch-style homes are the most popular style in Salina, although bi- levels, tri-levels and two-story homes are more economical, he said. A family desiring a new, three- bedroom, 1,700 square foot home probably would have to wait 90 days before the home is completed, providing weather conditions are perfect. Most existing homes are on the market between 60 and 90 days, Antrim said. Haworth offers a new and existing home trade arrangement which he believes has helped in "moving more new homes." Although many families may desire a big home with a big lot, Presley said the cost of maintenance and taxes prohibit the average family from their dream. The average price range individuals plan to spend on a new home ranges from $75,000 to $100,000, according to Haworth. Most of the $150,000 homes are being built in "The Hill" area, although he said less expensive homes also are being constructed in both the east and south. Presley said he believes the increase in reasonably priced homes in east Salina has come about because of flooding problems in southern areas of the city. "There are a lot of areas in south Salina where there is no problem at all," he said, adding many citizens are unaware which areas are located in the flood zone. Sales of pre-owned homes in south Salina were affected by the floodplain in 1985, Antrim said, and will continue to be affected in some areas this year. "It will be of some concern, but by no means a general scare. It will be something to watch closely in 1986." Although Antrim said the market shows there is still' 'a strong desire to own your own home," a new trend in building provides an alternative for those who prefer not to reside in a single-family detached dwelling. "We see an upward trend toward a townhome," Haworth said. "The market is toward the older person, but it's not just for them — it's for professional people too." Townhomes, single-family attached housing, are available in a variety of price ranges. Many offer small courtyards, for individuals who wish to establish flower gardens, but the lawn is cared for by professionals. Streets are often private and, like the driveways, are cleared of snow in the winter. Presley added there also is a demand for detached single family homes which offer professional yard care. He is currently working on a proposal which provides a buyer six house plans from which to choose in an area where the homes will be located on various sized yards along private streets. Presley hopes to begin construction this year, although final plans have yet to be completed and approved by the city. Building permits' value highest in Salina since '78 The value of building permits issued by the city of Salina in 1985 reflected a strength not seen since 1978. "We had one of our best years ever," said city building inspector Mike Peterson, who cited a total value of permits issued during the past year of $20,687,418. That compares to a 1984 total of $14,835,718 — a 1985 increase of 39 percent. The last time the value of permits issued exceeded $20 million was in 1978, which was the end of a three- or four-year heavy growth cycle, Peterson said. Although the number of permits for construction of new dwellings was down in 1985, the number of permits for business construction remained about the same. But the value of the construction, especially business construction, rose dramatically. There were 28 business permits issued in 1985 and 27 in 1984. But the bottom line figure for 1985, Peterson said, was $9,360,399, more than double the $4,130,919 in permits issued in 1984. Building permits for dwelling units dropped from 101 in 1984 to 78 in 1985. Permits were issued last year for 61 single-family homes, three duplexes providing six dwelling units, and townhouse projects accounting for 11 dwelling units. None were issued for apartment projects, Peterson said. Additions to homes also dropped slightly. In 1985, Peterson said, permits were issued for 90 additions such as family rooms, porches and garages (including detached garages). In 1984, permits for additions totaled 107. Permits requested ranged from small enterprises — such as a new bait shop operating out of a trailer in New Cambria and the conversion of a residential garage into a beauty shop — to large businesses such as the Holidome, under construction at 1616 W. Crawford, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, under construction at 845 S. Ohio. The Holidome cost is estimated at $5 million and the Mormon church cost is estimated at $1 million. Some business owners found it much more feasible to make improvements rather than build new structures. "And that's still healthy," he said. Large business improvements included the $452,000 addition of 10 guest rooms and a large meeting room at the Red Coach Inn, 2110 W. Crawford, and the $700,000 improvements to the First Church of the Nazarene, 1425 S. Ohio. St. Mary's Elementary School built a $250,000 addition and the First Presbyterian Church, 308 S. Eighth, applied for a permit to convert a classroom to a chapel at a cost of $60,000. 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