Vintage Hills Cooperative In the News ...
Click the headline to read the news article.
- Senior Citizen Housing Option Offers Community Feel (USA Today, June 12, 2012)
- Co-op housing a new option for seniors (IRHT article| May. 9, 2012 )
- Making room(s) for old-timers (Business Record - August 26, 2011)
- Senior Housing Cooperatives (DSM Magazine - May | June | July 2011 issue)
- Ewing Land Development & Services receives Iowa Adventure Award
(The Des Moines Register - December 2, 2010)
- Senior housing cooperative offering shares (Business Record - November 6, 2010)
- Jeff Ewing’s story of Ewing Land Development & Services (DSM magazine -
August | Sept. | Oct. issue)
- Our Story (DSM Article for the Holidays)
Indianola voters approve wellness center at Summercrest Hills
Indianola voters yesterday approved the city's proposed wellness and recreation center project, with 77 percent voting in favor of a $12.5 million bond issue needed to move forward with the project, the Indianola Record-Herald reported. A 60 percent vote was needed for the bond issue to pass. Unofficial results from the Warren County auditor's office on Tuesday night included 2,023 "Yes" votes and 615 "No" votes. The facility will be built within the Summercrest Hills development area on the city's northeast side. The financing will be repaid over time, primarily through tax increment financing and lease payments for 25 years by the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, which will operate the facility.
Copyright ©2010 Business Record. All rights reserved.
From the Des Moines Register, December 2, 2010
Ewing Land Development & Services receives Iowa Adventure Award
Eight Iowa companies have received Iowa Venture Awards from the Iowa Area Development Group.
The awards are given to Iowa companies that have made significant contributions to the Iowa economy through investment, expansion and job creation. Iowa Area Development Group represents rural electric cooperatives and member municipal electric systems.
Hawkeye Pride Egg Farm of Corwith received the Outstanding Business of the Year Iowa Venture Award for the Hawkeye Pride Project.
When completed, the project will consist of 10 poultry buildings containing more than 6 million birds producing about 5 million eggs per day. It will employ 80 workers.
The Distinguished Leadership Iowa Venture Award went to the Community Vitality Center at Iowa State University Extension in Ames in recognition of the Iowa Microloan Program.
The Community Vitality Center assists Iowa communities and foundations with entrepreneurship, development issues and philanthropic opportunities.
Six companies received Iowa Venture Awards for diversifying and developing the state's economy:
- Buresh Building Systems, Hampton.
- Ewing Land Development and Services, Pella.
- Green Plains ethanol, Superior.
- Monsanto, Boone.
- Puck Custom Enterprises, Manning.
- TigerHawk Plastics, Keosauqua.
From the Business Record, November 06, 2010:
Senior housing cooperatives offering shares
Senior Staff Writer
The senior housing cooperative, an ownership model that's been popular in Minnesota for years, is beginning to catch on in Central Iowa.
In Indianola, Vintage Hills Cooperative of Indianola is taking reservations for 38 independent-living suites. Each resident will purchase cooperative shares to own one of the suites as well as an interest in the building's common areas. Members can also serve on a board of directors that oversees professional management of the property.
"It's a new concept for us as well as for Des Moines and Iowa in general," said Josh Cowman, president of development for Ewing Land Development & Services LLC in Pella. The independent-living development will be attached to Vintage Hills Retirement Community, a 66-unit assisted-living center that just opened in Indianola. (See related article on page 8).
Cowman said Ewing Development will soon begin marketing similar cooperative assisted-living developments in Ankeny and Beaverdale as well.
"We've done independent (living) rental development and have been successful with it," Cowman said, "but after touring some of the (cooperative) facilities, we realized how good a value it is."
Under an arrangement known as a limited equity cooperative, a prospective resident buys an interest priced at approximately 40 percent of the unit's actual value, Cowman said. For Vintage Hills Cooperative, that prices the units from about $66,000 to just over $100,000. "The concept is to keep those units affordable and opens up your market more," he said.
Ewing Land Development plans to market shares for a similar cooperative alongside its assisted-living community under construction at Prairie Trail in Ankeny, and a stand-alone cooperatively owned facility on the former Rice Elementary School land in Beaverdale.
Elsewhere in Iowa, a St. Paul-based developer, Real Estate Equities, recently held a grand opening for a 50-unit senior housing cooperative, The Village Cooperative of Marshalltown. All but two of those units have been sold, said Marilyn Polley, the development's manager. That developer has also completed cooperative properties in Mason City and Asbury, and has plans for a Cedar Falls development.
According to the Senior Cooperative Foundation, the arrangement allows seniors to maintain control of their housing options while enabling them to preserve their home equity. More than 90 such cooperatives now operate in eight states, according to the foundation.
"It's a great concept," said Shona Schmall, regional cooperative director for Ewing Land Development. "I have a real passion for it because I've seen single seniors who have lost their spouse who have moved into these communities, and there's a tremendous amount of support."
Construction of the Indianola units won't begin until at least 60 percent of shares have been reserved; seven more units must be reserved to reach that percentage, Cowman said. The reservations will then be converted to purchase agreements, and residents can select a floor plan.
From the Business Record, August 26, 2011:
Making room(s) for old-timers
Senior living communities provide opportunities for developers
By Kent Darr
Senior Staff Writer
We're getting older, maybe older before our time. That is a good thing for developers as they try to accommodate the needs of an aging population and keep a fairly dormant construction industry alive as the country digs out of the Great Recession. A Pella company is getting credit for setting a standard in senior living communities that others are observing as they try to tap into what experts predict will be the hottest market in real estate for the next 20 years.
Josh Cowman goes through his paces every day knowing that someone is looking over his shoulder. He's just fine with that.
Cowman is president of development for Pella-based Ewing Land Development & Services LLC, which has established itself as a trendsetter in Greater Des Moines for its senior living projects.
The company is introducing senior co-ops at Vintage Hills retirement communities it is building in Ankeny's Prairie Trail and Indianola's Summercrest Hills developments. Ewing recently acquired the Rice Elementary School property in Beaverdale, where it plans another co-op.
Ewing was the first contractor to enter the Indianola development, and it has a "vision" that could lead to the first workable project for what has been a troublesome piece of development property at the former Rice school site.
That vision stems from the fact that we are getting older in a big way. Over the next 20 years, the number of people age 65 and older in Iowa is expected to increase 49 percent. And that age is 10 years beyond the minimum to enter most senior living communities.
Maybe we're getting older before our time, but whatever the case, Ewing has identified a market segment made up of active 55 and "better" retirees who want to live in a place of their own, minus all the troublesome maintenance responsibilities.
The target is middle- to upper-income individuals who can purchase a share in a cooperative – typically at an entry point that is well below market rates for single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums – then pay a monthly fee.
The master mortgage is held by the cooperative, so the people who buy individual units – which can have up to three bedrooms and a roomy 1,700 square feet – do not have to put up personal guarantees for development costs. A share, however, can run $50,000 to $110,000.
Ewing also has turned the table on its more standard senior living centers – standard is a bit of an understatement, given the amenities such as theaters, grocery stores and lively town centers that are part of the developments – by waiving entry fees and endowments.
Other developers are curious about Ewing's game plan as they consider entering the senior housing market.
Cowman acknowledges that the company is being watched.
There's a need
"There's a definite need in the Des Moines area," Cowman said.
Market studies that were conducted for the Iowa Finance Authority before it approved tax credits for recent low-income senior housing developments found that there are waiting lists for some senior housing centers in the area and estimate that those under construction could fill up in a relatively short time.
Tax credits amount to the government's way of bringing private equity into a project, primarily to provide gap financing between the developer's equity, leverage and final construction costs.
But banks are showing indications that they are more inclined to make loans for the development of senior housing as opposed to other commercial and residential projects, according to national studies and Steve Niebuhr, senior vice president for Hubbell Realty Co.
Hubbell is the construction manager for a low-income senior housing apartment building on Army Post Road and is building its own senior townhouse development in Johnston.
The company, which in recent years has turned other developers' failures into success stories, is considering adding a senior living component to its mixed-use developments. Niebuhr is studying Ewing as he also studies the market.
"We're studying them to understand the market, to learn what's going on," Niebuhr said.
Some of what is happening is self-evident: The population is aging. Less evident is that banks seem more inclined to lend on senior living projects than on other commercial and residential projects.
"I think financing is fairly easy to come by; lenders seem interested," said Niebuhr, whose company is the construction manager for Fort Des Moines Senior Living, which is under construction on Army Post Road, and will complete the Cottages at Johnston Commons later this year.
A focus on seniors
Ewing develops residential and commercial properties as well, but its work in senior housing defines the company and the mission of its founder, Jeff Ewing, a former banker who "took a leap of faith" 12 years ago to focus on senior housing, Cowman said.
That leap resulted from a personal experience. Ewing's grandfather was paralyzed at age 36 and lived in a nursing home for the remainder of his life. The fact that his grandmother and grandfather could not live together under one roof left an impression on the younger Ewing, Cowman said.
"He thought there had to be a better way," Cowman said. "That's what we are founded on, and that continues to be our passion."
The idea was to provide a place where elderly couples could live together in a little more luxury than could be provided in a small room with thin walls and tile floors.
In the last 12 years, Ewing has built and managed retirement communities in Pella, Indianola and Waukee. The company sold a senior center in Newton shortly after it was completed.
If Ewing does anything that could be called speculative construction, it is that the projects in Ankeny and Indianola started with assisted living apartments and memory care units. Those fill up as the need arises, Cowman said.
A memory care unit was completed last year at Ewing's The Village at Legacy Pointe in Waukee, a 75-acre complex made up of independent and assisted living apartments, a nursing center, a town center – complete with antique automobiles to remind residents of the good old days – and townhouses for sale. The Village features a movie theater, a general store, a post office and restaurant-style dining.
These features have become something of a template for Ewing projects. Vintage Hills retirement centers also will contain independent and assisted living units, memory care units and units for seniors who require skilled nursing care.
Cowman said the company's model has been adapted to changing lifestyles, with an emphasis placed on keeping families together and providing an inviting atmosphere for visitors.
Learning along the way
Jeff Ewing "knew that his grandmother could live under the same roof with his grandpa. Now we have multiple levels of care all under the same roof," Cowman said. "We have learned as we have gone along.
"The town center is one of those (changes). It's modeled to look like Main Street USA. There is a theater with a big marquee. Independent living is another change. It's a choice for seniors who have no needs for special care. It's just ... that they don't want to deal with maintenance anymore."
After those changes, Ewing brought cooperative senior housing into play.
Cowman said the company studied a model first established in Minnesota, where a member-controlled senior cooperative was established in 1976.
The cooperatives offer tax advantages such as mortgage interest and property tax deductions.
And they are democratic, controlled by boards and committees, said Shona Schmall, the company's regional cooperative director.
The Vintage Hills Cooperative in Indianola is not under construction, but it is 86 percent reserved after less than a year of marketing, Schmall said.
The share price for the Indianola units will run $68,000 to $73,000, 40 to 50 percent of the total value, with monthly payments starting at about $700.
"If we were at market value in Indianola, our prices would be $140,000 to $230,000," Schmall said.
The company has not launched its marketing campaign for the Ankeny cooperative, but has three units reserved and has received inquiries from another 15 to 20 people, Schmall said.
Cowman noted that inquiries also are coming in from people who are about to turn 55 – the minimum age for living in the cooperative – as they consider returning to Greater Des Moines to be near grandchildren.
By Kristin Demery and Kirsti Marohn, USA TODAY
Senior Citizen Housing Option Offers Community Feel (USA Today, June 12, 2012
• Jans' company has built 11 senior cooperatives under the name Village Cooperative and is averaging four new projects each year, mainly in Iowa. The company is looking at expanding to South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, Jans said.Mueller Gardens residents joke that this is their "senior dorm." Activities abound, including Scrabble and card games, potlucks, Saturday night movies, poetry readings and speakers. Ben Poepping, a retired postal worker, and his wife, Mary Ann, recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in the common great room. "Of all the places we've seen, this most appealed to us," Ben Poepping said. "Financially and everything else, it just suited our needs." Cooperatives offer financial advantages, since residents can deduct their mortgage interest and real estate taxes just like single-family homeowners, Carey said. Also, in a limited-equity cooperative, the value of a membership increases by a preset amount for every year they remain in the building, Johnson said. Despite the rocky real estate market the last few years, senior cooperatives have tended to hold their value relatively well, Jans said. One disadvantage is that when a resident moves out or passes away, the family must continue to pay the monthly fee until the membership is sold. The slow housing market can make that a little challenging, but most developers have waiting lists and are able to fill the units, Carey said. Contributing: Demery and Marohn also report for the St. Cloud (Minn.) Times
• Silver Glen in Bellevue, Wash., is a 155-resident cooperative for seniors 55 and older that's unusual on the West Coast. Property manager Laura Hargitt said there's a waiting list.
• Applewood Pointe has seven cooperatives in the Twin Cities that are home to about 1,000 residents. Brian Carey, senior vice president of development, said he believes the cooperative model will see a lot of growth in the future. "It's really the Baby Boomers who are fueling the demand for this type of housing," he said. Cooperatives are targeted for active seniors who are able to live independently but want to be in a social setting among their peers, Carey said. Most senior cooperatives are three- or four-story buildings with one- or two-bedroom units. Many have community rooms, gardens and space for activities from woodworking to poker.
Co-op Housing a New Option for Seniors
Vintage Hills in Indianola breaks ground on cooperative, which is slated to open next spring
There's a new type of senior housing coming to Indianola. In spring of 2013 Vintage Hills is slated to open a new expansion to its facility with the addition of the Vintage Hills Cooperative. Ground was broken for the new addition May 8.
"A cooperative is another, more independent option for seniors," said Shona Schmall, Vintage Hills regional cooperative director.
The difference in a cooperative versus a traditional assisted living or retirement community lays in the power of control that residents — or members of the cooperative — have over their housing community.
"A cooperative is senior housing where the members own control of the cooperative by buying shares in that cooperative," said Dennis Johnson, Cooperative Housing Resources president and member of the Senior Cooperative Foundation. "The co-op owns the land, the drapes, the appliances; but the residents, which we call members, own control of their cooperative."
Johnson said residents' monthly fees buy them their membership to the cooperative, which elects its own board of directors to set by-laws and make decisions involving the cooperative.
"The board of directors is elected by the members, and is a members-only board," he said.
It is that power over the community that Johnson said many residents find appealing.
"Members like having that control," he said. "Co-ops are also often less than traditional assisted living because of the structure of independence."
Most co-ops do not offer meal services or in-unit cleaning services to their residents like traditional assisted living homes, which helps to lower the price.
At Vintage Hills, members will be able order meals a la carte or to contract for cleaning services through the retirement home, but these things are not included in monthly fees.
Monthly fees are used to pay for operating expenses, utilities and the members' prorated part of the facility's real estate tax and the property's mortgage interest. Both the mortgage interest and real estate tax fees also are tax deductible, Johnson said.
"Another nice part of the residents buying memberships instead of actual units is that when it comes time to move, they can be sold without having to pay real estate commission fees," he said, adding that memberships themselves cannot be passed directly to family members due to the use of waiting lists, but those lists also allow for quick turnaround when trying to sell a membership.
According to Johnson, the main draw of a cooperative is the lifestyle.
"It's the ability to be independent and in control without the responsibility of owning your own single family home," he said. "No more lawns to mow, no more leaves to rake or snow to shovel.
"But it's still a lifestyle that offers them plenty of activity."
The cooperative usually has several committees, including social, facility and financial, that members are encouraged to take part in, Johnson said.
Vintage Hills is building 37 one- and two-bedroom units in the new cooperative, which will be attached to the existing building, Schmall said.
According to a list on the Senior Cooperative Foundation website, there are 12 cooperatives in the state of Iowa. Vintage Hills will make 13 and be the first of its kind in Warren County.
"Financially, you can't beat it," Schmall said.
Members of the cooperative also will have future priority over nonresidents to move into the other wings of Vintage Hills if they want to in the future.
"I've managed five co-ops," Schmall said. "It's really cool to see people come in to the concept and find their place in the community.
"There is such a strong sense of community in cooperatives, and people are all willing to help each other."