Although the property was originally proposed to be an extended stay hotel, Mayor Mike Bodker and councilmembers voted 6-1 — with Councilman Ivan Figueroa in sole opposition — for approval of the site plan and a concurrent variance to reduce the amount of required parking spots at the facility from 157 to 81.
“We find that about 20 percent of our residents move to our facilities with a car, and within six to 18 months, they don’t need the car any longer,” said Mark Lowen of Lenity Architecture, the company designing the retirement community in partnership with developer Hawthorn Retirement Group.
He said the average age of residents at similar facilities is in their late 70s or early 80s and often at the point where they may no longer be driving. Transportation is a provided service for residents, he added.
“One of the critical factors that we provide is a van service that takes them to the doctors, to church, to volunteer activities [or] shopping,” Lowen said. “Wherever they need to go, they have a van as they need it, literally 24/7.”
He added having less parking provides more open space where seniors can walk around the premises. Walking outdoors is the most popular form of exercise for residents at other facilities the company has developed, he said.
In addition to the van service, the retirement home will provide residents with other services and amenities.
“They don’t have to cook,” Lowen said. “They don’t have to clean. They don’t have to do yard work. They don’t have to do laundry.”
The four-story facility at 11190 Medlock Bridge Road will include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with a central kitchen and dining area and other common space for lounging or leisure activities. Medical or nursing care will not be offered on-premises.