Anchorage

New $60 million assisted-living project in South Anchorage could add scarce nursing beds

A Utah-based assisted-living company wants to build up to 120 skilled nursing beds in South Anchorage — a move that could increase the number of long-scarce nursing home slots available in the municipality by roughly a third.

Maple Springs Management LLC has already broken ground on an assisted-living facility planned for 11000 C St. in South Anchorage, said the company’s Kansas City-based owner Marc Dunn. The site is just south of O’Malley Road. Maple Springs already operates facilities in Palmer and Wasilla has now asked the state’s health department for a certificate of need to allow construction at the South Anchorage site, according to an online public notice.

The $60 million facility would be 106,000 square feet, according to the public notice. It could also include residential hospice care, a first for the city.

The addition of a large new facility offering higher-level care would be a big deal, said Pamela Kelley, executive director of Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska.

“That represents a large facility here,” she said. “And that would be a significant increase right here in Anchorage.”

Right now, the municipality has 248 skilled nursing beds between Prestige Care and Rehabilitation Center, with 102 beds, and two Providence Alaska facilities with a total of 146 beds, according to Alexandria Hicks, a certificate of need coordinator with the Department of Health and Social Services.

Skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities differ. Assisted-living residents live in a community but manage most aspects of daily life on their own. Skilled nursing residents require medical care from registered nurses and other medical workers for daily life, Dunn said. They are also subject to more regulation.

Such high-level care has been in short supply in Anchorage, Dunn said.

“It came up that there was a huge need for skilled services, and assisted living as well,” he said.

If the skilled nursing units are approved, the facility could house up to 200 people, Dunn said.

Expect to see more need in the future, Kelley said.

“We’re in Alaska,” Kelley said. “Our population is aging.”

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