Taking a walk into Lakeside Manor today is a night and day difference compared to even a few months ago. After a fire in January 2013 required the housing facility to shut its doors, the building has experienced a major makeover that is nearing its completion.

Craig Skorczewski of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership is serving as the project director for the renovation project, and he recently offered a tour of the site to show what has been done since the work started this past fall.

“Many of the units on the fourth floor are nearly done,” said Skorczewski, adding the cabinets have been installed in many of the units on that level.

The work increases as one goes down from the top to the bottom floor, and Skorczewski said that was intentional. 

The building’s utilities were installed starting from the top and working down through the building. The Lakeside Manor apartment facility is owned and operated by the local HRA, with the Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC) taking over as the interim director for the HRA in February.

According to Julie Rath of the RADC, there are 51 one-bedroom units that will be available at Lakeside Manor when the project is completed. Those units range in size from 363 square feet to 529 square feet.

The housing is income based, added Rath.

There are actually nine different unit types, said Skorczewski, with many meeting specific regulations, such as ADA. He added there are even rooms that cater to the hearing impaired.

Pat Dingels, who is serving as the interim director for the Redwood Falls HRA, said the RADC is going to be serving as the interim for nine months, which will get the site through completion construction and the start of occupancy. The HRA is also in the process of establishing a request for proposals for future management of the HRA and the Lakeside facility.

Skorczewski said there is still plenty of work left to be done, but he added things have been going very well as the work has continued.

The entire facility has been upgraded on the inside, with the exception of the basement, which Skorczewski said will remain as storage. There is the potential in the future to renovate more of that area to include more common areas as well as living units.

“For now the basement will serve as a storage area,” Skorczewski said.

A number of added security and safety features are being included in the upgraded facility, including a sprinkler system that has been installed throughout the building. There are also going to be a number of security cameras installed, and access to the building will be done with a keyless entry system also included.

“Each resident will get a fob to enter the building,” said Skorczewski.

In addition, each floor will include a lounge area, said Skorczewski, with an activity room and a multi-purpose room also included in the design.

New windows have been installed throughout the building, and one of the big changes from early in the project is the addition of getting the second elevator up and running.

A new roof has been installed, and Skorczewski said there will be an updated entrance and other exterior work done to improve the look of the building.

According to Dingels, the total rehabilitation project has a price tag of $5.4 million, with funds coming from various sources, including HUD, Minnesota DEED, the Minnesota Housing Finance Authority, the City of Redwood Falls, insurance and the local HRA.

The Redwood Falls HRA is currently accepting pre-applications for general occupancy income-based housing tenants for Lakeside Manor.

According to Skorczewski the project is currently ahead of schedule, and if all continues to go well the facility could be open as early as the beginning of August. Those who may be interested in an application for housing at Lakeside are encouraged to call (507) 637-2221 or find an application online at www.radc.org.

Dingels said priority will be given to those who were displaced by the fire and who have an interest in moving back into Lakeside Manor. She said there are people who have been waiting and want to go back.

Lakeside Manor is an income-based site, said Dingels, but it is not a facility strictly for senior citizens. Anyone may apply to live at Lakeside.

Skorczewski said he is pleased with how the project has been going, adding he believes the newly improved Lakeside Manor site is going to be a good addition to the community.