Se­nior hous­ing, re­tail area to open on U.S. 278

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

A mixed-use se­nior hous­ing de­vel­op­ment with some re­tail shops is com­ing to one of the last large va­cant tracts off U.S. High­way 278 in Cov­ing­ton.

Lo­ganville-based Di­ver­si­fied De­vel­op­ment Co. owns the 14.66acre, heav­ily-wooded tract that runs be­tween U.S. 278 and Turner Lake Road and backs up to the Food De­pot shop­ping cen­ter. It is hop­ing to place five to six re­tail shops and as many as 142 se­nior liv­ing units on the land.

Con­struc­tion on the pro­ject will likely start within six months, said Danny Her­rmann, owner of Di­ver­si­fied De­vel­op­ment. He said his com­pany is talk­ing to in­ter­ested retailers, but de­clined to give spe­cific names or busi­ness types.

Her­mann pre­sented the plans to the Cov­ing­ton City Coun­cil Mon­day, when he re­quested re­zon­ing of part of the prop­erty; the coun­cil unan­i­mously voted to re­zone the prop­erty from cor­ri­dor res­i­den­tial to cor­ri­dor mixed use. Prior to the vote, the par­cel had split zon­ing.

Se­nior Plan­ner Scott Gaither said the orig­i­nal site plan had called for multi-fam­ily hous­ing with com­mer­cial prop­erty fronting both U.S. 278 and Turner Lake Road.

How­ever, Her­rmann said stud­ies showed the Cov­ing­ton mar­ket is in need of more se­nior hous­ing, and the planned de­vel­op­ment will be what’s called a con­tin­u­ing care com­mu­nity, of­fer­ing mul­ti­ple hous­ing op­tions in­clud­ing in­de­pen­dent liv­ing, mem­ory care and as­sisted liv­ing.

Her­mann said his com­pany is cur­rently work­ing with a se­nior hous­ing com­pany on fi­nal plans but said ten­ta­tive plans call for 32 as­sisted-liv­ing units, 20 units for mem­ory care – hous­ing for peo­ple with Alzheimer’s and other mem­ory-loss con­di­tions – and 50 to 90 units for in­de­pen­dent liv­ing. Her­mann said the most re­cent mar­ket study in­di­cated a big­ger

need, so the de­vel­op­ment will lean to­ward 90 in­de­pen­dent units.

He said Ben­ton House of Cov­ing­ton and Merryvale As­sisted Liv­ing both have high oc­cu­pancy rates and said the mem­ory care hous­ing in par­tic­u­lar will likely have a wait­ing list as soon as it opens.

In ad­di­tion to a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of se­niors, grow­ing em­ploy­ment and busi­ness bases also led Her­rmann to de­ter­mine the time was right for the de­vel­op­ment.

“When look­ing at one of th­ese (com­mu­ni­ties), the se­niors of­ten get some as­sis­tance from their chil­dren, and you’re hop­ing there is go­ing to be some good, qual­ity growth com­ing for some years (to sup­port that),” Her­rmann said.

The close prox­im­ity of the New­ton County Se­nior Ser­vices cen­ter, which is lo­cated across Turner Lake Road in the Turner Lake Com­plex, was also a de­cid­ing fac­tor, he said.

The Turner Lake Road en­trance to the de­vel­op­ment will line up with the sec­ondary, one-way en­trance into Turner Lake Park, and Her­rmann said there are plans to build a golf cart path down the road to the ex­ist­ing path that leads into the park.

The re­tail and se­nior hous­ing com­po­nents will also be tied to­gether.

“We al­ways wanted to do some­thing with the prop­erty, be­cause it’s a good lo­ca­tion with two gro­cery stores nearby, but it was just find­ing the right use for it,” said Her­rmann, who said his com­pany has owned the land for seven years. “We feel we’ve found a fit for it.”

Her­rmann said he was ex­cited about the city and cham­ber’s plan to hire a re­tail re­cruiter as that could help in the search to find re­tail clients.

The prop­erty will ei­ther be sold to the com­pa­nies that lo­cate on the land or be kept by Di­ver­si­fied De­vel­op­ment, Her­rmann said.

Photo il­lus­tra­tion /The Cov­ing­ton News

A new mixed-use se­nior hous­ing and re­tail de­vel­op­ment is lo­cat­ing on a par­cel (out­lined in red) that runs be­tween U.S. High­way 278 and Turner Lake Road and abuts the Food De­pot shop­ping cen­ter.

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