Assisted living facility slated for Orr
City Council approves ordinance clearing way for 35 unit facility
Tom Klein

ORR – Spectrum Health Companies expects to start construction this spring on a 35-unit assisted living care facility in Orr that could be open by late fall.

On Monday, the Orr City Council agreed to adopt an ordinance that permits Spectrum to build within 130 feet of the city’s water tower, and voiced its support for a building permit for the project. The building permit was not ready in time for Monday’s meeting.

A feasibility study was conducted earlier this year to help Spectrum determine whether it should expand plans for a proposed facility in Orr, according to Jon Monacelli, vice president of finance and planning for Spectrum. Plans originally called for construction of a 20- to 24-unit assisted living and memory care facility. That has subsequently been upgraded to a 35-unit facility.

“We’re building for present and future capacity,” said Monacelli. “We forecast there’s going to be an increased demand for memory care and it’s less costly to build now than later.”

According to Monacelli, the Orr Care Free Living facility should provide about 25 full-time equivalent jobs at full capacity. The 22,000 square-foot structure is expected to cost $3.9 million.

The facility will be built east of the Bay View Apartments along Lake Street. The project will require the demolition of a city garage used to store tools. A $350,000 grant for infrastructure improvements, such as extending water and sewer lines, has been secured through the city and the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.

Based in Eveleth, Spectrum Health Companies has extensive experience in home care, assisted living and memory care. Spectrum provides employment for more than 500 people in 13 Minnesota communities and their surrounding areas.

The company operates assisted living and memory care units in Ely, Cook, Babbitt and Silver Bay. It also owns facilities in Brainerd, Burnsville, St. Cloud and Virginia, and Spectrum’s branch companies provide health and personal care services for people of all ages in all types of residential settings.

Spectrum has been in negotiations with Orr about the proposed facility since last fall, after a similar proposal with another party fell through.

“The city’s been great to work with,” said Monacelli, “and we’re looking forward to a groundbreaking soon.”

Monacelli said the project should provide construction jobs for six months and then 20 or more permanent jobs once it opens.

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