The Lodge: Old Trail for older folks
Back in 2008, developer David Hilliard began his "Lodge at Old Trail" project, a senior living community in the heart of Old Trail Village in Crozet. He was hoping to create what he calls a multi-generational community, where seniors who wish to live independently or need assisted living or special medical services can live among their children and grandchildren. Now dirt has been moved, foundations poured, and steel framing has been going up fast, bringing the project closer to reality.
No thanks to the Albemarle County Service Authority, however, which refused to budge on a policy under which water and sewer connection fees can be paid only once a building permit is issued.
Hilliard and other developers had tried to persuade the Authority to allow them to pre-pay for service connections, but the board said no, a decision that has ended up costing Hilliard over $500,000. That's because back in 2008, the connection fee for the 126 units was around $200,000. When the development ran into delays, no permit was issued, and today, the connection cost is around $700,000.
Still, Hilliard appears to be trying to use the situation to his advantage, emphasizing in a recent release that the development will not only bring jobs to the area (100 by the time the place is finished), but the recent payment of the connection fee has added nearly three quarters of a million bucks to the Authority. So this development is a good citizen.
"Hopefully, that money will go toward improving the County's infrastructure," says Hilliard. "And I can promise it won't be jacking up our rates."
Hilliard says that construction actually began in January, but it was hard to notice. That's because the facility includes an 80-car underground parking lot, something many local developers have promised (Waterhouse comes to mind), but never delivered on.
Indeed, the project has won support from the Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA), whose executives have visited similar facilities Hilliard built in Middlebury and Shelburne, Vermont.
"Whenever a well-run, well-designed facility such as the Lodge is added to the community, it’s to everyone’s benefit," says JABA CEO Gordon Walker.
"I believe that seniors, our parents, should be the center of the community, not on the fringes," Hilliard wrote on his blog recently. "Sometimes in our country when a person reaches a certain age and no longer works in a defined job, our public pushes them to the side and doesn’t look for the advice and wisdom that these people have. I'm building this Community to help and try to change that."
To that end, the Lodge will have 1,100 square foot apartments available for an all-inclusive monthly rent, and the facility will be located right next to Old Trail's Village Center. Hilliard imagines a situation where grown children could stop by and take their parents to get their hair done at the Center, grab a cup of coffee after dropping the kids off at school, or get in a quick round of golf. Plus, there's always an opportunity for a chance meeting in the Center, as seniors will be right in the middle of the community, not tucked away in some remote isolated senior-living facility.
"We'll have speakers from the Miller Center, and other special events," says Hilliard. "We want to create something not just for seniors, but for the whole community."
Most units will be residential, with assisted living and special memory care units mixed in. The later will be state of the art, Hilliard tells the Hook, providing care for those with dementia.
Of course, a place at the Lodge isn't cheap. We're talking one- to two-bedroom units renting in the range of $3,250 to $5,895 a month, depending on the level of service.
However, as Hilliard emphasizes, literally everything–meals, medical and consiegre services, etc.–is included. Plus, similar facilities in the area can run as much as $200 a night. And so-called 'buy-in' assisted living facilities can cost hundred of thousand of dollars up front.
In addition, Walker says JABA plans to work closely with the Lodge, referring people who need more affordable accommodations to JABA’s assisted living facility, Mountainside Senior Living.
One thing Hilliard is particularly proud of is the fact that the assisted living units are the same size as the residential units, meaning seniors don't have to suffer the indignity of getting rid of all their stuff when they need more help.
"You can keep your things about you," he says.
The Old Trail facility is expected to be finished and fully staffed with close to 100 employees in late April 2012.Read more on: old trail