Minneapolis on Quest for “Unique Urban Model” of Senior Living

Minneapolis officials are on a quest to develop a “unique urban model” of senior living that targets hot spots where city amenities and healthcare options converge. 

A recent Minneapolis Star Tribune article features Carol Kennedy and Tom Powers, who raised their two children in Minneapolis and established deep roots in their neighborhood, but aren’t sure if they’ll be able to stay once they start having health issues. 

“Couples just like them have already fled to the suburbs after not finding adequate senior-oriented housing within the city limits,” says the Star Tribune. “…The future shortage of senior housing as baby boomers get older is a growing concern for leaders at City Hall who are striving to retain the existing population and simultaneously add new residents.”


Senior housing is “one of the most important issues facing Minneapolis moving into the next couple of decades,” Tom Streitz, the immediate past director of housing policy for Minneapolis, told the Star Tribune. 

Last year, the City Council launched a new initiative targeting “ideal” sites for senior living developments—and earmarking funding for projects located in those areas. Those hot spots include locations where transportation, healthcare, shopping, and jobs converge. The goal is to have walkability replace self-contained senior campuses in the suburbs, with clinics and hospitals forming “potential service cluster” areas.

“We’re trying to develop a unique urban model of senior living,” Wes Butler, manager of residential finance for Minneapolis, told the Star Tribune. 


While the city has seen luxury apartment development boom, senior housing hasn’t kept up with suburban supply, with land and funding availability posing “significant” challenges to developers who are considering urban senior projects. 

“Public funding for affordable senior projects is harder to come by than traditional affordable housing, and different senior buildings must serve a wide array of income levels, ages and medical needs,” the article says. “Suburban senior campuses have accommodated this on cheap, vacant land — a rare commodity in an urban setting.”

Read the full story at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace