The New Brighton City Council approved a preliminary Planned Residential Development plan by the Benedictine Health Center for an extension to their New Brighton campus.

Recently, the council approved a rezoning of a portion of the property and this is the first development application resulting from that action.

“The applicant does understand that further steps on this, beyond preliminary, are going to be dependent on when the (comprehensive) plan actually gets approved,” said Community Assets and Development Assistant Director Ben Gozola. “They want to get through this process now so that once the comp plan is approved, they are ready to get the ball rolling.”

To allow Benedictine to move forward, the council approved a Planned Residential Development, which is a development tool that allows flexibility for development  

Intended outcomes of the PRD include encouraging advances house design, layout flexibility and the development of the life-cycle environment.

“PRD’s is a mechanism that cities use to give developers flexibility when moving forward with the development,” said Gozola. “Maybe it is something that will be great for the site but it doesn’t work under the strict framework of the code. In this particular case, the developer needs to use a PRD because, again, we are in between two comprehensive plans and we don’t have a zoning district written yet.”

Expansion

Currently, the health center has 82 units and 16 of those units would be removed as a portion of the existing building will be demolished.

“The removal of the wing will allow for the construction of a new, larger ‘L’ shaped building,” said Gozola.

The remaining 66 units would then be accompanied by 56 new independent living units, 40 new assisted living units, 24 new memory units and eight skilled nursing apartments.

“In total, when everything is said and done, there will be a total of 194 units,” said Gozola.

The project will also include remodeling of the existing building.

Resident concerns include privacy, parking and construction impact.

The health center is planning to provide 202 parking spaces on the campus, including parking stalls below the new facility.

“Based on historical data provided by Benedictine about this site, and here other facilities, we do believe that it is going to work on this site,” said Gozola.

The main entrance is also being moved to the center of the property to clear up congested parking on Black Oak Drive.

“Most of the residents at this facility do not drive so the biggest generators of the parking demand are going to be staffing and visitors,” said Gozola. “The peak time for both of those groups don’t occur at the same time.”

Public safety also reviewed all aspects of the plan and concluded that the expansion is possible with minor tweaks.

Garzola also said that the plan is in line with the goals and objectives of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

“We find that the development is going to support a diverse population, provide a diverse mix of senior housing types, establish a sense of place by introducing a modern residential structure to the area and it is going to create an attractive development,” he said.  

The Benedictine Health Center campus is located at 1101 Black Oak Drive.

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