Assisted-living facility may be headed to former annex site

website maker An assisted-living facility on the east side of Columbus is a step closer to becoming a reality after action taken Tuesday night by the city council. The council approved a resolution to support the issuance of up to $15.5 million in bonds for the project, called Vivera Senior Living. The facility will be located at 1971 State Street, which was formerly home to the Bartholomew County Annex.

Robin Hilber, with Columbus Economic Development, explained that the project calls for a 114-unit complex. This equates to 52 efficiency units and 62 one-bedroom units. Hilber stresses that the city would not incur any liability once the bonds are purchased. She says that repayment of the bonds would be made by the developer. In addition, Hilber says the move would not negatively impact the city’s ability to bond future projects. She explained that the revenue bonds and are being sought by the developer, Marian Development, because of the city’s tax-exempt status. Federal law requires a unit of government to act as the issuer of the bonds.

Council members were supportive of the project, though Councilman Dascal Bunch expressed concerns. Bunch, who represents much of the city’s east side, says that there is a feeling among residents that projects that may not be palatable to other parts of the city are “being dumped” on the east side. While conceding that the project is needed, Bunch says that more needs to be done to make sure that east side residents are having their voices heard.

Hilber says the project is still a ways off from breaking ground. The developer is expected to request the space be designated an economic revitalization area. Such a move would allow significant tax savings on the project. Hilber adds that if the project goes through, approximately 65 jobs will be created with a payroll of approximately $2 million.

Council voted 6-1 to approve the resolution. Bunch was the “no” vote.