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If all goes as planned, a cornfield at the southeast corner of Seaman and Coy roads will be the site of a senior housing center a little more than a year from now.
A Columbus developer, AlcoreSenior LLC, intends to build 60 to 80 assisted living apartments and 12 to 20 independent living units on the 13-acre site, all for the elderly, according to Benjamin Byers, principal/CEO of the company.
The project will be financed by the proceeds of tax-exempt bonds issued by Oregon. Up to $15 million of the 30-year mortgage revenue bonds would be sold. Debt service would be the sole responsibility of AlcoreSenior; Oregon taxpayers would not be at risk if the bonds went into default.
Mr. Byers told Oregon council members last week that with financing from the bond sale in hand, he could proceed with preliminary work on the project, such as a feasibility study.
“We don’t see any obvious roadblocks,” he told council, adding that he would like to start construction in fall and open in late spring or early summer.
Council members generally approved of the project, noting that Oregon needed senior housing. But some expressed wariness about the bond sale.
“What happens if the company fails?” asked member Sandy Bihn.
“Oregon is pledging none of its tax dollars,” Oregon Administrator Michael Beazley responded.
Diana Silveira, AlcoreSenior’s bond attorney from the Peck Shaffer firm, told council that Oregon merely would be the “conduit issuer,” not the borrower, and would not be responsible for the debt.
City Law Director Paul Goldberg and finance director Kathleen Hufford agreed that the city was well protected. Mr. Beazley said conduit financing was common among public entities, and that Oregon had issued similar bonds before, most recently about 1½ years ago for the Lutheran Homes Society, another provider of senior housing.
“We feel that it is a good general land use for that area. It is a niche in senior housing that we need,” Mr. Beazley said. He noted that Oregon had its own bond counsel, Squire Sanders, whose fees would be paid by the developer.
Mayor Mike Seferian said a previous plan to build apartments on the property was met with opposition. “This is a better use,” he said.
Mr. Byers said most of the development would be one story. The main building would be assisted care units, with cottages for independent living around it.
He said AlcoreSenior had similar projects under construction in Huber Heights and Sidney, Ohio.