Local developers Al Janke and Wayne Hein are proposing to revitalize a seniors independent living facility in downtown Weyburn, and are hoping they can garner enough interest to make the project a go.
The deal won’t happen if there isn’t enough interest, said Janke, and he warns it’s likely this kind of facility won’t happen again in Weyburn if they can’t make a go of it.
If their venture is successful, the building formerly known as The Lofts and Liberty Manor, will be renamed as Wheatfield Place. It is located at the corner of Fourth Street and Souris Avenue, with 17 suites ranging in size from roughly 700 to 1,000 square feet.
Janke admits he wasn’t looking to get in on a real estate deal at all, as at first it was just mentioned in passing that this building was for sale.
“I didn’t have any interest whatsoever in owning commercial property any more,” he said, but with the inability to travel due to COVID restrictions, he’s thought about the venture more and thinks it could fill a real need in Weyburn.
Janke said he’s had both parents in nursing homes at different times, but thinks there should be an alternative to a senior just needing some help or living in a long-term care home.
“This isn’t a revolutionary concept, it’s not new, and in fact we had one in Weyburn. After hearing how much it was missed and how much it is needed after it closed, I thought it would be well embraced,” he said.
Wheatfield Place would not be a nursing home or a condominium, but an independent living facility that includes a common room for dining and activities, heated parking, and the provision of meals, weekly suite cleaning, including washing of towels and linens.
“Not surprisingly the interest has been phenomenal, and the positive feedback has been 100 per cent,” said Janke.
“The problem however is the lack of commitment, with the most used statement being, ‘I’m not ready’,” he added, noting that he and his partner would like to see at least 70 per cent occupancy before they will proceed with this project.
“The words of the very first guy to sign up were, ‘if you guys don’t get this going, Weyburn will never see it again’,” said Janke.
Janke thinks the overbuilt condo market is partly to blame for people’s reluctance to commit to a project like this, as those who may now need this kind of facility need to first sell their condo unit.
There are a total of 17 one and two-bedroom units available, and Janke said their benchmark is to have 11 spoken for by March 15 in order for the facility to proceed.
“If we do not reach our 70-per-cent goal, the project will be abandoned and your cheque returned,” said Janke.
The building would be locally owned and operated, so the money won’t go to a company in Eastern Canada or the U.S. The facility is being offered as an alternative to having a senior go to a nursing home, or to have to move to Regina for a similar kind of accommodation.
If anyone would like a tour of the suites available, they can contact Wayne Hein at 306-421-9555.