First senior housing units nearing finish

A construction crew works on one of the units at the $11 million Homestead Senior Residences Derby. The first residents should be able to move in in a month.

Tom Bishop likes what he sees in Derby’s new senior housing development.

The first of 76 units at the $11 million Homestead Senior Residences Derby will be ready in late August or early September, he said.

Not only will all units be filled when ready, if he had another 76 units, Bishop said he could fill those, too, as there is that much demand.

“We have a tremendous list of folks that want to get in,” said Bishop, president and CEO of the Holton, Kan.-based developer.

Bishop’s tenant list has 215-220 names on it, and while some won’t qualify for the income-based housing, enough will to fill it and create a waiting list.

“We’re pleased with the way things are going,” he said.

The development was designed by LK Architecture of Wichita and Accel Construction of Bel Aire is the general contractor.

Bishop said a key factor is that the entities have teamed together before and have a working relationship.

This week, company officials will be meeting with potential residents to review their applications. There also have been some showings of the still under construction units, which is east of Rock Road and the Target store and south of Tall Tree on a 10.1 acre parcel. Most are income-based, but some are market rate.

The housing is for people 55 or older and other than the market rate units, their income needs to be from 30 percent to 80 percent of the area median income.

The development, which is stressing an energy efficient design, combines local, state and federal resources.

Bishop said there hasn’t been any new-built affordable senior housing since the early 1990s and since then, Derby has grown quite a bit.

The project will be phased in, with the development filled up by late January or early February.

The project’s anchor, the Community Building, will be finished first and then units to its east will be done, moving in a circular direction.

When enough progress has been made, the construction entrance will shift to the south so residents don’t have to navigate around work vehicles. It’s currently on the north side.

The project has proven popular because its income-based approach means affordable rents and more people are “aging in place,” he said. That means they’re staying in their homes as opposed to assisted living or nursing facilities.

“We’re at the right point at the right time,” Bishop said.

Having seniors stay in Derby also will benefit the entry-level home market, he said, as the market gets pricier.

Indeed, home valuations have increased 6.2 percent in the past year, and as seniors move to the new facility, their homes can be sold to those looking for their first home.