Oakdale AmericInn may soon become senior housing

AmericInn Lodge and Suites is located at 6630 Hudson Blvd. in Oakdale. (Linda Baumister/Review)

The properties surrounding the Oakdale AmericInn, located at 6630 Hudson Blvd., are zoned for commercial and low-density residential use. (submitted graphic)

Proposed conversion to be discussed at council workshop

The AmericInn building in Oakdale could soon have a new clientele: seniors.

Oakdale City Council members heard plans to convert the hotel at 6630 Hudson Blvd., just north of Interstate 94, into an assisted living facility at their Jan. 14 meeting.

Peaceful Living, Inc., which owns and operates a 10-bed senior care center in St. Paul, submitted a proposal to amend the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning map to allow the land, which is currently zoned for commercial use but is surrounded by low-density residential zoning, to be used for high-density residential uses. This would allow the company to renovate the 54-room hotel into a 57-bed assisted-living facility.

Bao Vang is listed as the president/CEO of Peaceful Living, Inc. She is also the president/CEO of the Hmong American Partnership, a St. Paul-based organization that provides services and support to the Hmong community.

The Review could not reach Vang for comment, but a consultant on the project said she did not wish to speak to the media until a purchase agreement is finalized with AmericInn.

The hotel is currently open for business. A representative from AmericInn could not be reached for comment.

High demand for senior housing

As the population ages, developers are eager to meet an expected demand for senior housing in the east metro.

Just last fall, ground was broken on The Waters Senior Living project, located in Tartan Crossing at Tenth Street and Interstate 694 in Oakdale. The facility will be completed by fall 2014.

The 114-unit Polar Ridge Senior Living complex is under construction in nearby North St. Paul as well. City officials have said there is already a waiting list for the building, which will be at Helen Street and Highway 36. It should be ready for residents in 2015.

The proposed assisted living complex at the AmericInn would attract a different set of clientele than The Waters, a consultant on the project said.

The converted building would not only cater to those seniors who self-pay, but also for those relying on government housing assistance.

In a Nov. 5 letter to Oakdale city planner Whitney Ridlon, Vang said that Peaceful Living, Inc., spoke with Washington County, and that county officials are “in full support of the development of this project.”

Vang wrote that her company’s goal is “to meet the needs of the 55+ community who need assisted living services in order to remain healthy, integrated members of our community.”

Council voices qualms about rezoning

Oakdale’s six-person planning commission unanimously recommended amending the comprehensive plan and zoning map, but city council members were hesitant to voice the same support.

Council member Stan Karwoski said, “I will have a hard time supporting [the zoning change] in the future, but I would like to come to some conclusion,” he said, adding he would be interested in exploring “other methods” for the project’s completion.

Kent Dotas expressed a similar sentiment.

“I’m not opposed to the project, but I’d like to table [the discussion]. I’m uncomfortable moving forward at this time and would like to know more about it before we take action,” he said at the meeting.

Paul Reinke supported the project, saying it was good to have “another option for community members and other members of the surrounding communities.”

The council ultimately voted to table the item until its Feb. 25 meeting, and later voted to hold a workshop the same evening to discuss other possible ways to accommodate the project. The workshop will be held at 5 p.m. before the 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall.

Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7822. Follow her on Twitter @jholubnews.


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