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Via Christi’s Cornerstone to add skilled-nursing facility

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, June 22, 2012, at 9:50 a.m.
  • Updated Saturday, June 23, 2012, at 7:50 a.m.

Via Christi Villages will add an 80-bed skilled-nursing facility to its Cornerstone Ridge Plaza, near 37th and Ridge.

Construction of the 72,000-square-foot building could begin as early as this month, Jerry Carley, president and CEO of Via Christi Villages, said Friday.

The building is expected to be completed in October 2013.

It will have an all-private-bed arrangement in four 20-unit neighborhoods and occupy 6.5 acres of 15 acres of land that Via Christi owns at the site.

The facility is expected to employ 115 people.

The skilled-nursing facility will be in addition to 60 assisted-living units already there, putting Cornerstone closer to becoming a continuing-care retirement center. The only piece Cornerstone would need to be a CCRC is independent-living units. Carley said there is land available to develop such a component, but no plans are in place.

“Certainly there’s additional land there if we wanted to look at adding options,” Carley said. “It is not something we’re completely ruling out, but we want to get this project up first before we start talking about a next phase.”

The facility, at 3636 N. Ridge Road, will be built by Simpson Construction Services.

Cornerstone’s skilled-nursing facility is one of two Via Christi senior-living projects the Wichita City Council approved this week for industrial revenue bonds.

The council approved $14 million in revenue bonds for Cornerstone, and $6.8 million to refinance at lower interest rates a 2004 bond issue that covered the acquisition of the Riverside Hospital senior-living facilities at 777 N. McLean Blvd.

Cornerstone will be at least the second skilled-nursing facility project under construction in the city. Physicians Development Group is building a skilled-nursing center in northeast Wichita, near 127th East and 21st, which is expected to open in the fall.

Carley said changing demographics are behind the overall increase in senior-living projects, here and across the country.

“I think you are seeing some of that if you look at just the demographics in general of the senior population,” he said. “A statistic that is out there is fairly significant: 10,000 people in the U.S. are turning 65 or older every day.”

Carley said he also thinks that in Kansas, more seniors are moving from small towns to urban areas such as Wichita.

Contributing: Bill Wilson of The Eagle

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com.

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