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Developer Set to Build Assisted Living Facility on Gates Street

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/23/2017 12:02:01 AM
Modified: 1/23/2017 12:02:02 AM

White River Junction — One of the largest building projects to hit Hartford is getting underway, as developer Byron Hathorn moves forward with a plan to erect a $27 million, five-story, 80-unit assisted living facility at 109 Gates St.

“We believe it’s the largest single development, clearly in White River. It’s high up there statewide,” said Brooke Ciardelli, who works with Hathorn as part of his company, Main Street Renaissance.

Fencing is being erected at the worksite, in between the new Northern Stage theater and the United Methodist Church.

The 87,000-square foot facility, The Village at White River Junction, will be operated by Life Care Services, an Iowa-based company that manages housing for 35,000 seniors across the nation.

“They’re a national operator,” said Ciardelli. “They operate hundreds of facilities across the country. They’re only bringing on three new projects this year, and we’re one of them.”

The LCS website lists facilities in about 130 communities across the country, including five in Connecticut.

The project will represent an effort to realize the latest trends in such facilities, with a “vertical Main Street” layout that encourages residents to take advantage of amenities including an in-house cinema, a salon, a hydroponic garden, a dog-walking area and a cocktail lounge.

“We understand a lot more about aging now than we did 20 years ago,” said Ciardelli.

Ciardelli said residents will pay a monthly rent, the amount of which will be determined by LCS about six months before the opening date.

“It will be in the same price range as other properties in our community, whether that’s Harvest Hill or the Terrace communities,” Ciradelli said.

The proposal benefited from a new, streamlined process that allows developments to more easily navigate Act 250, a state law meant to protect the state’s natural resources from large developments.

Under the process, outlined in state statute, “in lieu of obtaining a permit or permit amendment, a person may request findings and conclusions from the District Commission, which shall approve the request if it finds that the development or subdivision will meet” a long list of criteria, including proof that it will not threaten natural, agricultural or historical resources.

Linda Matteson, coordinator for the District 3 Environmental Commission, said only four projects in the state have taken advantage of the “6086b procedure.”

“In Districts 2 and 3, this is the only one — so far,” she said.

Hathorn will host a formal groundbreaking ceremony in March, and the facility is scheduled to be ready for its first residents by spring of 2018.

Roughly 30 people who have expressed interest in the project have been placed on a list to receive notification of when LCS begins accepting applications, said Ciardelli.

Ciardelli said the large majority of those hired for the 50 onsite jobs will be area residents, and that the facility will include a garage that will hold between 10 and 12 cars.

The project got off to a rocky start when negotiations to purchase the neighboring property from the United Methodist Church were ultimately rejected by church members in 2015, which caused Hathorn to re-structure the building design.

Hathorn has a history of development in the area, including a set of condominiums on nearby Railroad Row, the White River Junction Railway Station, and as a partner in the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Lebanon.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be reached at mhonghet@vnews.com or 603-727-3211.




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