Connecting Senior Housing Development to the Larger Community

Posted by Dana Wollschlager, director of real estate developmentLuther Park of SandpointA number of us had a tremendous opportunity to meet some new Ecumen customers yesterday: Pastor Dave Olson of First Lutheran Church in Sandpoint, Idaho and Norm Sommerfeld, who is chair of the First Lutheran Church board of directors. We are working with them to create a new senior housing development connected to First Lutheran Church in Sandpoint and they were touring Ecumen communities in Maplewood and one being built in North Branch.It was very refreshing to hear Pastor Dave talking about this development as a way to ‘build community.’ Not just a community for seniors, but one that is multi-generational and helps build bonds between the youngest of the congregation and the oldest. Baby boomers told us in our Age Wave Study that they want amenities such as places of worship nearby. We applaud Paster Dave, Norm and the entire First Lutheran congregation for their vision and commitment to vital, successful aging and looking at the synergies that can occur between senior housing and the larger community.

First Lutheran Church of Sandpoint, Idaho Enters into Senior Housing Development Agreement With Ecumen

SANDPOINT, IDAHO €“ First Lutheran Church of Sandpoint has joined in a development agreement with Minnesota-based Ecumen, one of the country’s largest Lutheran senior housing organizations, to create a new senior community connected to First Lutheran Church. The development, called Luther Park at Sandpoint, is anticipated to break ground this fall. “This exciting new initiative will contribute greatly to a vibrant faith community that people can call home their entire lifetime, while serving greater Sandpoint by expanding housing options for our area’s seniors,” said Pastor Dave Olson of First Lutheran Church of Sandpoint. “We’re greatly looking forward to expanding our ministry and helping meet the growing housing and service needs of Sandpoint. “The vision for this community began nearly a half century ago when First Lutheran moved from 5th Avenue in downtown Sandpoint to its current 6 1/2 acre site at Olive & Ontario,” said Olson. “While Luther Park at Sandpoint will be €˜not for profit’ and affiliated with the Lutheran Church, we welcome and look forward to serving people of all religious backgrounds.”“This new community will encompass so much of what our customers are saying they desire, including services and technology that enhance people’s independence, close proximity to their place of worship, nearby shopping and on-site healthcare,” said Dana Wollschlager, Ecumen’s director of real estate development.“Our focus is on creating a community that the First Lutheran congregation, its neighbors and all of Sandpoint will be proud of.”The three-story senior housing development will have 60 residences including a mix of 1- and 2-bedroom floor plans that range in size from 571- to 967-square feet. A number of residences will provide views of the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains.The development will include catered living, which provides a variety of health and personal assistance services as well as suites specially designed for memory care and enhanced assisted living care. Among the community’s amenities will be an indoor link to the church, grand fireplace gathering area, library and media center, community meeting rooms, a beauty and barber shop and walking paths.Independence-enhancing technology, such as QuietCare, also will be featured at the new Luther Park community. QuietCare is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day a week wireless system that helps residents, caregivers and family members identify small health problems before they grow into larger ones. This technology has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and on the CBS Evening News.First Lutheran Church of Sandpoint,which has 778 members, is located at 526 South Olive Street. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and serves the community through a variety of ministries.

Ecumen also is an affiliate of the ELCA and is based in Shoreview, Minnesota. One of the country’s largest non-profit senior housing companies, Ecumen works to create “home” for older adults wherever they choose to live.