New memory unit probably a year away

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A new memory care unit scheduled to come to Austin would probably start construction sometime next year, said Natalie Burnell, director of business operations for Cottage Properties.

The Austin City Council on Monday voted to approved the sale of a 3.9 acre site in northwest Austin to the company for $253,500.

Burnell said the company, based in Mankato, is completing a second building at its Owatonna location; once completed, owners will begin to build a unit in Mankato.

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The Austin project will most likely break ground in 2018, although an exact timeline is hard to determine this early, she said.

The memory care unit will employ 35-40 mostly full-time employees, she said, in a blend of skill and unskilled positions.

The unit will provide enhanced care in an assisted living environment, designed to address the needs of residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

While not licensed as a skilled nursing facility — such as a traditional nursing home, where there is nursing staff on hand 24 hours a day — the unit would provide trained staff and services that especially address issues unique to its residents, and would have nursing services available, she said.

The 24-unit facility would be overseen by a cottage director and future expansion would be possible “if the market supports that,” she said.

The facility would be located just west of St. John’s Lutheran Church at 12th Street and 13th Avenue Northwest, a property that was formerly athletic fields and is currently serving as snow storage during high volume seasons.