Rental discounts to be offered to ex-military, too, when place opens in 2013

A new assisted-living facility that will give U.S. military veterans priority and rental discounts is coming to Viera.

INVENCO Seniors Housing LLC, the Midlothian, Va.-based company that specializes in veterans projects, is developing the $12-million Viera Manor Assisted Living Facility to be built off Breslay Drive, adjacent to the Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic.

Viera Manor, which will house more than 100 residents, is scheduled to open in April 2013. It will employ about 50 people, from administrators to food service workers.

“This will be a very nice addition to Viera, without question, and Brevard County and the surrounding municipalities,” said John Goode, a managing member at INVENCO Seniors Housing, which will also own and operate Viera Manor.

The project, which has been in the works for about five years, means yet another senior-living facility for Brevard. The county has seen significant growth in that type sector the past few years as developers spend millions of dollars on new projects to house the growing wave of Baby Boomers and elderly Americans.

Viera Manor, however, is the first in the area targeting veterans.

Bill Vagianos, president of the Brevard Veterans Center, said that other areas with fewer veterans than Brevard County have long had these types of facilities.

“Given the population we have in Brevard County, it is needed,” Vagianos said, adding that he was pleased to see such a project become reality after so long in the planning stages.

Chip Hanson, a Vietnam War veteran who is a chaplain for Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and Rolling Thunder, often visits veterans in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities who have not had recent visitors. He, too, was pleased to hear that Viera Manor is moving forward.

“It’s about time,” he said.

Hanson said it was a step in the right direction to get additional facilities to benefit veterans in Brevard County, especially since the VA hospital is being built in Orlando and not here. “This is going to be of fantastic assistance to veterans,” Hanson said.

The Veterans Administration, which owns several acres of vacant land near its Viera clinic, requested proposals for an assisted-living facility in 2007. The federal agency eventually accepted INVENCO’s proposal, which Goode said includes a 55-year-lease and two 10-year extension options.

The 63,000-square-foot Viera Manor will be licensed by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. It’s being marketed to veterans, Goode said, but it’s not exclusive to former members of the military.

“The intent is to provide assisted-living to veterans, to the extent that we can fill it with veterans,” Goode said. “But we are not prohibited from providing rooms to non-veterans.”

Rates for the new facility will be disclosed in the upcoming months. Veterans will be offered one rate, which will be about 10 percent lower than non-veteran residents, Goode said.

Washington, D.C.-based Love Funding, a leading provider of Federal Housing Administration multifamily and healthcare financing, helped arrange for INVENCO a $8.56 million loan for the construction and financing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 232 loan insurance program.

“This is the first project of its kind that’s been approved for funding through this HUD program,” said Laura Saull-Smith, Love Funding’s senior director of commercial origination. “We’re hoping this is going to be the prototype of similar projects around the country that Love Funding works on with INVENCO Seniors Housing.”

Written by Wayne T. Price and R. Norman Moody via FLORIDA TODAY