Senior Living Spurs Downtown Renovation

Senior Living Spurs Downtown Renovation
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Fort Scott has a new senior living facility. Not long ago it was one of several vacant historic buildings in the city’s downtown.

“Unfortunately, you know, those buildings just for public safety, eventually have to be torn down,” Fort Scott Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt said.

But a roughly $5.7 million renovation, including affordable housing and historic building tax credits, have turned the former Western Insurance building into a 35-unit senior housing complex. The city helped obtain grants to clean up lead and asbestos.

“They have the opportunity of taking that building, let it get to the point of blight and disarray where they have to tear it down. Or they can put that money towards creating housing,” C.E.O. of Flint Hills Holding Group Tony Krsnich said.

It’s a model Krsnich has done in other downtowns through Kansas and Missouri; operating another moderate income senior living facility in Parsons, Kansas.

“All over the country we have a shortage of affordable housing epidemic,” Krsnich said.

The work downtown won’t just end with the Western Senior Living apartments. Krsnich is also under contract to work on a building just across the street for mixed-use housing.

“Not restricted to seniors 55 years of age or older,” Krsnich said. “We’re gonna see if we can’t work some retail into the mix down below as well.”

An additional adjacent building considered un-salvageable is expected to be demolished and turned into a parking lot for residents.

“We’re able to re-build the existing structures and make them livable again,” Pruitt said. “And then just breathing life back into an area that had been vacant for many years.”

Krsnich said earliest the renovation would be complete with the 2 additional buildings is late next year.