Ryan Cos., Grand Living Unveil IA Senior Housing

The joint venture' Grand Living at Bridgewater in Coralville includes 170 units, and a spa, a chapel and a salon.

Minneapolis, Minn.-based Ryan Companies US Inc. and Grand Living have opened Grand Living at Bridgewater, an independent, assisted living and memory care senior living community in Coralville, Iowa, an Iowa City suburb. The four-story community features 170 units, ranging in size from studio floor plans to two-bedroom-and-den configurations. Bridgewater represents the sixth project developed by the partnership, with Grand Living as operating partner and Ryan Companies developer and builder.

The community provides comprehensive age-in-place services intended to meet residents’ physical, social, intellectual and spiritual needs.

The wellness center and spa features an indoor pool, exercise studio, medical providers’ offices and salon. Residents can also take advantage of a performance theater, library, grand lounge, chapel and instrumental practice rooms.

The “Iowa City-Coralville Market had very high occupancies in the existing senior developments and nothing that offered a true age-in-place model,” Eric Anderson, vice president of development, senior living, told MHN. “Most of the competitive set has residents move to a different building when moving from independent to assisted to memory care. We also offer a lifestyle model that incorporates wellness, theater [and] different options for dining [with] three distinct restaurants in the building.”

Weighing positives, negatives

When Ryan Companies originally considered developing the site, both plusses and minuses had to be factored in to the decision, Anderson said.  Among the former were an identifiable location next to the Iowa Firefighters Memorial, visibility from a high-traffic roadway, opportunity to develop walking trails throughout the master plan and the partnership‘s excellent relationship with the city of Coralville.

The property also presented downsides. First, the parcel featured a heavy contour, resulting in significant site costs.  And “pre-development, it was difficult to see the vision of what the site turned out to be,” Anderson added. “We are thrilled with the results.”

Located at 3 Russell Slade Boulevard in Coralville, Bridgewater is near the intersection of First Avenue and I-80, directly west of the Firefighters Memorial.

Product differentiation

Financing challenges always revolve around rents, construction [and] development costs,” Anderson said. “Some of our debt and equity partners were used to underwriting suburban senior living development, which typically draws the customer from a five-mile radius.” Overcoming the challenges, he said, was a matter of “Understanding where your customers are coming from, understanding how to differentiate your product from the rest and adjusting rents and project scope to fit the information discovered.”

A second Iowa Grand Living project is under construction in nearby Cedar Rapids. That project, Grand Living at Indian Creek, is slated for completion in early 2019.