Grace Lutheran considers buying land in Sky Park
Posted: May 16, 2014
Grace Lutheran Foundation, which operates several facilities in Eau Claire that offer skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation, assisted living and independent housing for senior citizens, as well as adult day services and after-school child care, is asking the City of Eau Claire to sell a 4.6-acre parcel in the Sky Park Industrial Center to develop a medical rehabilitation facility.
"They have made an offer to buy lot 2 in Sky Park. The city council has directed city staff to keep negotiating. We plan to give it immediate attention and see if we can move on this proposal quickly. No decisions have been made at this point," said City of Eau Claire Economic Development Department Director Mike Schatz.
Randy Bestul, chief operating officer for Grace Lutheran Foundation, said he is waiting for the city to come back with another proposal.
"We don't have anything new to report since we haven't received a counter-offer from them yet," said Bestul, who added that if Grace Lutheran were able to purchase the lot, the organization would pursue construction of a "rehab-type facility in the neighborhood of 50 beds or so."
Grace Lutheran operates the Syverson Lutheran Home at 816 Porter Avenue, which is a 102-bed skilled nursing home facility. Bestul said the facility in Sky Park would be different than Syverson in that it would be specifically for individuals who get released from the hospital and need short term care.
Bestul said it is too early to discuss any construction timeline for the Sky Park project.
"There are some zoning issues within Sky Park that will have to be addressed so I think it's premature to estimate when we might be able to move forward and actually break ground," he said.
Meanwhile, YMCA Executive Director Ken Van Es said he has entered into preliminary discussions with Bestul regarding the availability of the three-acre Syverson Lutheran Home property if it were to become for sale.
"We have had some discussions about what's going to happen to the property should they move. Obviously, we have an interest in what happens to that property even if we didn't want it for ourselves," said Van Es, who added that fundraising efforts continue for a new YMCA facility at the corner of Carson Park Drive and Menomonie Street. The YMCA owns seven acres and is considering development of a new community center on that site.
"We have a few options for that site. Hopefully, in the somewhat near future, we would select an option and move forward," said Van Es. TBL