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


Doubt this will be a Medicare facility. Only for the "Job Creator" crowd.

such an altruist!

Stupid people trying to make money. How dare they!

More like stupid people spending $ on a ripoff if they
do. Only a small % of people could afford it. The
community ploy is gagsome.

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So these wealty people will pay big bucks to live there and their wealth will trickle down the ladder to nurses, maintanace people, cab drivers, landscapers, store clerks etc.

Ronald Reagan would be so proud.

The way the economy is going Seniors may be the only ones who can afford to buy a home. I can foresee elderly parents saying to their kids, " I'll buy you home if you live here. " Otherwise, I don't know many grown kids that want to live in such close proximity to their parents - if they have a choice - do you ?

Agreed Paradox, but is there a construction site out there that doesn't have illegals working? If so, I haven't seen it. According to our "glorious leaders", they are an important part of the economy. Go figure.

onwidit, if what you're saying is true and there is not a construction site without undocumented immigrants, then I would say that there is no doubt that they are an important part of the economy. Ironic that your words prove the point that belies your apparent argument.

I agree Tim, Reagan would be proud. Better the money should "trickle down" to people who earn it by providing some goods or services. The alternative model which some people seem to favor is use the government's taxing power to take the money from the seniors and others and distribute the wealth to people who are not productive, do little or nothing to advance the common good, or actually drag the society down.

...funny how my original comment posted earlier was deleted...
..truth hurts,eh?

this is a great project - will be wonderful for the folks and their families who live there.


Truth? Making such claims without providing any evidence to support them hardly qualifies as truth.

Not so fast, amigo......why don't they just at least become legal aliens? They are not an important contributors to our society or economy, although they do keep law enforcement busy investigating accidents and crime.

@Wag, I agree. I am so glad somebody is building something other than subsidized (affordable) housing. There is so much affodable housing on the market now that's empty. I also agree we should chase away the illegal aliens. We have so many native born unemployed construction workers looking for employment now. They should not have to compete with those who are willing to work for half as much. These people have mortgages to pay.

As for "trickle down" any money out there was not put out there by poor people, and if they have any, it must have trickled down some way or given to them as welfare. Either way, if it costs between $3500 and $5000 a month, they won't be trickling here either. At least 100 people will find employment (which is a part of "trickle down").

Our senior generation is growing tremendously fast. This facility will prodive a percentage of seniors a nice option; they have worked hard, invested wisely for years, and frankly, deserve a CHOICE if they can afford it. At the same time an opportunity will be available for caregivers, administrative staff, grounds-keepers and other professionals providing those trained and educated to take on the positions. Let's hope those who are not legalized citizens will not be included in this mix. I am excited and impressed with this facility.