Story last updated at 1:59 p.m. Thursday, May 9, 2002

Senior housing apartment complex to open
by R.J. Kelly
Managing Editor

photo: news
  Photo by R. J. Kelly, Homer News
The Vista Senior Housing complex officially opens with a ceremony next Thursday, May 16, 2002.  
After several years of planning, financing and fund-raising, workers are putting the final touches on a new $1 million, eight-unit apartment building at the Homer Senior Citizen complex.

"Putting the funding together has been a three-year project," said Fred Lau, administrator of Homer Senior Citizens Inc.

Only a day after a ceremonial ribbon cutting planned for 6 p.m. next Thursday, May 16, new residents will start moving into six two-bedroom units and two one-bedroom apartments, Lau said.

Called the Vista Senior Housing complex, the eight-plex is for residents at least 60 years old and capable of living independently, without the need for assistance.

While the existing 24 independent living units at the senior complex are open to residents 55 and up, the higher age limit is required by the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., which provided about $472,000 of the expected $1 million construction cost.

With long waiting lists for the independent living apartments, all the new units are rented already, Lau said Monday.

The two-bedroom units rent for $700 a month, while the one-bedroom apartments go for $600, plus electricity. Oil-fired heat is included in the rent.

Under construction since last fall, the gray, two-story building sits on the uphill side of the main Homer Senior Citizens Center at 3935 Svedlund Ave. The main center includes assisted living facilities, offices, a dining hall, craft and hobby areas, a gift shop and other residential and recreational facilities.

The existing independent apartments are on the far side of the main complex from the new eight-plex.

When the new apartments were first planned, some residents of private homes uphill from the site complained the buildings might block their view of Kachemak Bay. The building height was limited by a city conditional use permit last year. Lau said the contractors worked on the design and complaints eased.

"It actually improved their view because some trees were cut down," he said in February.

In addition to the state funding through Alaska Housing Finance Corp., other funds included donations of $5,000 each from Wells Fargo Housing Foundation and the Wells Fargo Homer Branch, and $300 from the Rasmuson Foundation, according to Lau.

"We'll also end up with a loan of $258,000," he said.

General contractor on the project was Blazy Construction of Soldotna, with architecture by Kluge and Associates of Kenai.

After next Thursday's ribbon-cutting, Homer Senior Citizens Center will hold an annual membership meeting at 7 p.m.

In recognition of the efforts to get funding approved by the state Legislature, Lau said invited guests include state Sen. John Torgerson, Rep. Drew Scalzi and former Rep. Gail Phillips. Given ongoing duties in Juneau, it's unclear if the Legislature members will be able to attend.