Editor's Note: This story is a sidebar to accompany another story about Willow Valley's proposed 20-story building in downtown Lancaster clearing its first hurdles.
By any measure, Willow Valley Communities is a major presence in Lancaster County.
It’s the largest provider of senior living here, with more than 2,400 residents. It’s the 13th largest employer in the county, state statistics show, with nearly 1,500 full-time and part-time workers.
But that's not all. A newly released study shows that Willow Valley also provides a powerful boost to the Lancaster County economy, with a more potent impact to come in the future.
Willow Valley will deliver a local annual economic impact of $173.2 million, assuming its expansion projects underway and on the drawing board are completed, according to a study done for Willow Valley by Oxford Economics.
The upcoming ventures include the proposed Willow Valley Mosaic high-rise proposed in downtown Lancaster, the SouthPointe at Lakes villas under construction at Willow Valley’s main campus in Willow Street and the SouthPointe Village apartments to be built there beginning this summer.
The sum consists of $153.0 million tied to Willow Valley's regular operating expenses -- including wages, salaries, marketing, insurance, utilities and the cost of hiring outside service providers -- plus $20.2 million tied to spending in the community by residents and out-of-town visitors.
Its Mosaic project would be a significant contributor to both categories, with $10.4 million yearly tied to spending needed for the 20-story building's operation and $1.7 million yearly tied to spending in the community by its residents and out-of-town visitors, for a total of $12.1 million.
Three types of impacts are rolled into those numbers, Oxford Economics noted in its 46-page report.
First, there’s the direct impact -- money spent by Willow Valley, its residents or their visitors. There’s also the indirect impact – money spent by each business patronized by Willow Valley, its residents or their visitors to buy inventory or supplies to meet the demand they create. Finally, there’s an induced impact -- money spent by people who work at Willow Valley or who work at the businesses that serve Willow Valley, its residents or their visitors.
Separate from the direct, indirect and induced flow of money is the flow of money from those entities and people to their local, state and federal governments. That’s better known as tax revenue.
Willow Valley’s presence, once those pending projects are completed, would lead to $35.4 million in tax revenue a year. The total consists of $15.2 million in federal tax revenue and the balance in state and local tax revenue, according to Oxford Economics.
Not surprisingly, subtracting the Mosaic and SouthPointe projects lowers Willow Valley’s economic impact significantly – by nearly $20 million.
Oxford Economics, using 2019 data, calculated that the sum of money paid to employees and businesses with ties to Willow Valley was $156.6 million. This too consists of direct, indirect and induced impacts. The total tax revenue generated would be about $3 million less -- $32.5 million.