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Cost of assisted living

Average cost per month.

Marin County: $5,168

Sonoma County: $4,158

Solano County: $3,734

Napa County: $3,690

National average: $3,602

Source: National Investment Center for Senior Housing & Care, August 2016


Along with the huge wave of education-related North Bay projects rolling into construction in the next few years, there’s an upswell in work coming for senior housing with special accommodations and in Napa Valley-style retreats coming to Sonoma County.

About $6 billion in construction-related school bonds have been approved by North Bay voters in the past few years, and school districts are turning master plans into projects, according to Mark Quattrocchi of education-focused Quattrocchi Kwok Architects in Santa Rosa. For example, Santa Rosa Junior College has multiple projects in the $20 million–$50 million range moving into construction this year and next.

ACTIVITY ACROSS THE BOARD

At Axia Architects in Santa Rosa,“There’s no one building sector that is catapulting to the front of the pack,” said principal architect Doug Hilberman.

On top of school projects, hotels are expanding, renovating or coming out of the ground. Multifamily projects are being master-planned again, including condominium projects.

Municipal capital projects mothballed in favor of maintenance work during the economic downturn are returning. Tenant-improvement projects for expanding and moving companies are increasing.

Cannabis companies are seeking design for Santa Rosa-area projects, as state and local rules emerge for marijuana in commerce.

MEMORY CARE

Blending the multifamily and health care markets are assisted-care facilities. A $67 million expansion and renovation to a large senior-living community under construction near Napa appears to be on the leading edge of a number of projects on the horizon, according to Robin Stephani, vice president of preconstruction for Santa Rosa-based Wright Contracting, the general contractor on the project.

Memory care accommodations are transitional housing for people who are challenged in living independently because of progressive medical conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This care goes beyond assisted living to include activities that encourage reconnection with hobbies and are designed to prevent wandering out of the living unit.

“We’re going to see a lot of that coming in the North Bay in the next two or three years,” she said. “There are four or five projects in that size range floating around now.”

The Meadows of Napa Valley, a 20-acre nonprofit continuing care retirement community at 1800 Atrium Parkway in Napa, is adding 242,000 square feet. That includes 92 new independent-living apartments, underground parking, a wellness and aquatic center, and renovated dining rooms. The new apartments have 900–2,400 square feet.

That’s on top of the 40 assisted-living and 20 memory care units added to the development in a $16 million expansion in 2009. The property is owned by The Odd Fellows Home of California and managed by Medford, Ore.-based Pacific Retirement Services.

The 64-bed Vineyard at Fountaingrove memory care facility, operated by Frontier Management of Portland, Ore., was completed in northeast Santa Rosa last summer.

Among the assisted-living and memory care projects in the works is Napa Valley Senior Care, a 173-room facility recently approved by the city of Napa to be built by Minnesota-based Oppidan Investment on about six acres owned by Justin-Siena High School at Solano and Trower avenues.

The project reportedly is heading toward construction this year.

“We’re looking into memory care and assisted living,” said Tom Andrews, president of Napa-based Andrews & Thornley Construction.

The company had considered the Justin-Siena project but decided to pass on it, he said. As it is, builder’s work is usually winery commercial projects, and the undisclosed project backlog for this construction season is as busy as it was last year, Andrews said.

Cost of assisted living

Average cost per month.

Marin County: $5,168

Sonoma County: $4,158

Solano County: $3,734

Napa County: $3,690

National average: $3,602

Source: National Investment Center for Senior Housing & Care, August 2016

The surge in construction in general has stretched his and other construction companies in finding subcontractors, but by planning far enough ahead in staging projects, Andrews & Thornley pushes to get new wineries ready to receive grapes by the fall harvest, he said.

NAPA EXPERIENCE IN SONOMA

Napa Valley has been known for exclusive and exotic lodging experiences for decades, but there’s been increasing interest in the past year and a half for master-planning high-end boutique hospitality projects in Sonoma County, according to Hilberman.

“Some are looking at alternative methods for hospitality, such as retreats at the higher end to get away from it all,” he said. “And some want to bring in a more holistic health model.”

There’s interest in small-format experiences in secluded locales in the hills of Sonoma County or by the coast for groups of 20 to 40, he said. These might be corporate retreats or for celebrities. Guests would be served by an executive chef, stay in connected quarters or independent suites, have access to activities such as gardening or vigorous workouts.

“We’re starting to see what had previously been in Napa County now in Sonoma County, with destination resorts where people who have the wherewithal can be provided a unique experience,” Hilberman said.

These are resorts that would appeal to guests of exclusive destinations such as Auberge Resorts’ Solage Napa Valley or semi-enclosed accommodations akin to the Safari West wild-animal park and lodging north of Santa Rosa but with five-star-like amenities.

Other developers are looking at restoration of existing historic hotels or bringing new hotels to centers of activity in the county, such as Sonoma and Petaluma.

Axia is working with such a developer on a three-acre project a block and a half from Sonoma Plaza currently called the First Street East Development. The business model is a combination hotel and residences. It’s currently seeking entitlements from the city of Sonoma.

“The model calls for residents booking joint use of common spaces and staff with the hotel,” he said. That might include hiring the hotel housekeeping staff to clean a home in the development.

“We really haven’t had a large influx in that market in the past in Sonoma [County],” Hilberman said. The attractiveness of Sonoma County’s hospitality market is bringing in a number unique business models. “It will really provide a unique cross-section of experiences one can have in the county.”

Some of these ideas could come online in one to two years, but some are likely three to four years out, according to Hilberman. A big determining factor in the timeframe is the environmental review needed for the projects, depending on a particular site’s needs for infrastructure such as water and sanitary treatment, he said.

Jeff Quackenbush (jquackenbush@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4256) covers wine, construction and real estate.