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Union Central fills gap

After already agreeing to tax increment financing, the Detroit Lakes Development Authority is also helping the Washington Independent Care project with gap financing.

The 30-unit senior living facility, which is being built at the former Washington Elementary School site on North Washington Ave., will cost about $3.25 million. Developer Bob Bristlin came before the DLDA Tuesday afternoon to ask for $250,000 to bridge the financing gap on the bank loan.

Bristlin said the units will be cheaper than similar locations because the cost of the project is lower since a portion of the school was reusable and easily converted rather than built from scratch.

The facility will be an independent care facility.

"You can have whatever services you want," Bristlin said.

Those services will be provided by Ecumen, which owns Emmanuel Community.

Residents will have a "menu" to pick services from, including for example, laundry, bathing, medication monitoring, etc.

Although DLDA member Bruce Imholte wasn't able to attend the meeting Tuesday, he left a message questioning if the developers could kick in some money so the loan wouldn't be as much.

When suggested, Bristlin responded that "I suppose we could cough up some more, but I don't know how we would," because the developers all have other side projects. Bristlin just bought the Grover Lindberg gas and convenience station on North Washington Avenue and plans to open it soon.

With the ever-changing economy, interest rates and subcontractors' scrambling to find work, cost is coming in lower than expected on the project.

The DLDA unanimously agreed to give the developers an IRP loan up to $250,000 - at 5 percent interest with a 25-year payback and 5-year balloon -- with the contingency that Bristlin's bank deals come through as well.