Health Care

Larksfield Place to expand with assisted-living facility

Larksfield Place will add an 88,000-square-foot assisted-living facility to its campus, filling a gap that had existed at the continuous-care retirement community.

Larksfield East will be built on 8 acres on the west side of Rock Road at Greenbriar. The land is contiguous to the Larksfield Place campus at 7373 E. 29th St. North. Larksfield Place has owned the land for some time. It is vacant now.

Larksfield Place already offers independent living and skilled nursing care on its campus.

The Wichita City Council on Tuesday will consider issuing $12.8 million in health care facilities revenue bonds to finance the project. Larksfield Place will add $2 million to $3 million of its own to the project, said president and CEO Valerie McGhee.

The city will issue the bonds "and effectively owns the building and leases it back to Larksfield over the life of the bonds," said Larksfield chief financial officer Tim Nikkel.

The bonds will be sold to UMB Bank. Because Larksfield Place is a nonprofit, the bank won't pay federal income tax on the interest it earns, Nikkel said. "They in turn are willing to pass that rebate on to us, so we can borrow at a much lower rate."

Allen Bell, urban development director for the city, said health care facilities revenue bonds are identical to industrial revenue bonds in the way they work. He said the bonds for Larksfield Place won't have an effect on the city's tax base because of the facility's nonprofit status.

Larksfield Place has used tax-exempt revenue bonds a number of times in the past, including for its original construction in 1987.

Construction on the assisted-living facility is expected to begin in June, with a grand opening anticipated at the end of 2011, McGhee said. The facility will add 76 jobs, "which in this economy is huge."

GLMV Architecture is the architect. Altman Charter Co. of St. Louis is the contractor, but about 90 percent of the subcontractors will be local. That's similar to Larksfield Place's most recent independent living expansion, McGhee said, for which Altman Charter also was the contractor.

McGhee said Larksfield East will have a two-story assisted-living building, with 32 one-bedroom apartments and eight two-bedroom apartments. A middle two-story building will have a commons area with fitness club, two exam rooms, a post office, a bistro and other amenities. A third building will be one story and will have 32 memory-care apartments.

The Larksfield Place skilled nursing unit also offers memory care; McGhee said the apartments will be for those who don't need nursing care but do need assistance with daily living tasks.