Developer plans senior housing complex in Camas

An 120-unit apartment complex designed for senior citizens is being proposed for construction along Northeast Third Avenue in Camas.

The 5.04-acre site, located at 3309 N.E. Third Ave., is currently vacant, and sits directly across the street from the Washougal River Greenway. The property was purchased by Dennis Pavlina and Carmen Villarma in 2015.

The project will be called Riverview Apartments. According to its State Environmental Policy Act determination paperwork, the four-story, 118,000 square foot building could house up to 300 people. The height of the tallest building would be 45 feet.

During an interview on Monday Pavlina, the project’s developer, said the property will offer residents the use of two elevators and at least 106 parking spaces. It will also feature sidewalks, a courtyard, exercise room, and a common area with a rooftop terrace.

“A large courtyard area is proposed between the eastern and western wings of the building,” the SEPA paperwork states. “The courtyard includes a number of different sidewalks that provide a variety of walking and exercising opportunities for residents. Additionally, the sidewalk wraps around the building, which affords residents an opportunity for active recreational activities.”

The property will be landscaped with ornamental and native trees, shrubs and ground covers.

“Additionally, a natural area is to be retained in the northwest portion,” the SEPA document states. “This area contains dozens of existing native deciduous and conifer trees and will be preserved in its natural state. The existing wetland in the eastern portion of the site and the existing Oregon white oak trees located in the south-central portion of the site will also remain in their natural states.”

The development will include apartments with one bedroom and one bathroom, as well as those that include two bedrooms, with 2 or 2.5 bathroom options, Pavlina said. Each will be equipped with washer/dryer hookups. The size of the units will range from 700 square feet to 1,100 square feet.

According to Pavlina, the complex will cater to middle-income senior citizens. This means that at least one person living in each unit must be age 55 or older. Rent prices have not been determined.

“We have already finished a property in Battle Ground for this group,” he said. “Rents are very promising.”

Pavlina, a Camas resident, is the developer of Battle Ground Village, a 21-acre mixed-use development at Southeast Rasmussen Boulevard and Southeast Commerce Avenue that features shopping, eateries and apartment living that opened in 2010. It is home to The Crossings, an apartment community for those ages 55 and older that opened in March.

Pavlina also developed the Riverview Apartments, located at 3003 N.E. Third Ave., in Camas, which was constructed in the early 1990s. The complex sits on 3.3 acres west of the proposed senior housing project with the same name.

“We have already owned multi-family [housing] in Camas,” he said. “This will be an expansion of what we have. Over the past two years we have been working with the over-55 population, developing properties specific to their needs.”

The property is currently zoned for high-density multi-family development. In addition to completing the SEPA determination process, the project must make its way through the city’s administrative-level reviews for its design and site plans.

“We are already one-and-a-half years into the process, so we’re not sure how long it is going to take,” Pavlina said.

Ideally, he said construction would begin in August and be completed by April 2017.

Camas is home to at least one other apartment complex that specifically caters to senior citizens. Crown Villa Apartments, operated by the Vancouver Housing Authority, is located at 1529 Division Street, across from Crown Park. It houses seniors ages 62 and older, with rents based on income.

Camas Mayor Scott Higgins said the Riverview Apartments senior citizen housing project will fulfill a need. While Camas offers many single-family home options, there are gaps in other areas.

“We are happy to see some product starting to come on line that will address seniors being able to age-in-place,” he said. “It accommodates another section of our community.”

Higgins said the site along the five-lane Northeast Third Avenue corridor will be a good fit for this type of project.

“The fact is we don’t have this option in our community and we want to allow for as many kinds of options as possible,” he said. “There could be some people who don’t approve of it. I think the location is not a bad location for it. I don’t think there will be traffic issues.”