WOODBURY, Minn. — When Katie Revering lost her job, she needed to find a cheaper place to live.
Revering soon became frustrated with her lack of options near where she was living in White Bear Lake. She said her son offered to let her live with his family, but she was able to turn him down when she heard about The Glen at Valley Creek, an affordable senior housing development coming to Woodbury.
"It's affordable, and that was my big thing: I don't want to lean on my kids," Revering said. "I've been helping them all these years with their children — I want to be independent and I want my own place to go home to at night."
READ MORE: Woodbury to add 255 market-rate apartments
The Glen, a 42-unit building for independent seniors 62 years and older, welcomed residents to 7995 Afton Road in November 2019. On Feb. 5, a grand opening ceremony attracted state and city leaders, including Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-53), Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Leimaile Ho and Woodbury Mayor Anne Burt. The development is owned and operated by the Washington County Community Development Agency.
All of the units are currently full. The building includes mainly one-bedroom units, priced at $455 or $809 per month, as well as two-bedroom units, priced at $536 or $961 per month. Residents also pay for electric and heat.
Speaking at the grand opening, Ho described why "this project is special."
"You don't maybe notice this if you're living here, but you're a pilot project to prove that we could do targeted senior housing and really target it at folks who are on fixed income," Ho said. She also mentioned the $260 million Walz committed to affordable housing grants in an announcement last November.
The three-story development is noticeably filled with natural light, whether in the lobby, a stairwell or one of the apartments. It includes amenities like a fitness center, heated underground parking and community room, which was dedicated to Former Mayor Bill Hargis and his wife, Joan Hargis.
There is a focus on accessibility and comfort outside the units — elevators to all floors, a separate "tub room" with a walk-in soaking tub that can be reserved — as well as inside, where residents have in-unit laundry, walk-in closets and wide hallways and doorways. The Glen is also across from the Tamarack Nature Preserve and positioned a short drive or trail walk to the YMCA, R.H. Stafford Library and several shopping and dining options.
Though designed for seniors who can live independently, The Glen has "service coordinators" onsite to help residents with things like housekeeping, in-home health care and even tax preparation.
The Washington County CDA owns and runs 10 other senior living properties, including Cobble Hill Apartments at 2600 Cobble Hill Drive in Woodbury. The total number of affordable senior and workforce housing units owned and operated by the CDA totals around 1,200, human resources and communications coordinator Ryan Gruber said.
Another independent senior living community, The Legends of Woodbury, opened a 216-unit building at 570 Settlers Ridge Parkway in summer 2019.
In addition to her son, Revering mentioned a friend of hers had also offered her a place to live when she was struggling. Though Revering turned her friend down, too, she said she still sees her and other friends plenty at The Glen.
"It's so much fun, they keep coming down here now," she said.