YORK — The developer of a 52-acre mixed-use senior living campus in York that has been five years in the making said construction could begin this summer if plans for financing are approved. Chris Sinz, president of CDS Development Company, approached the York City Council last week, seeking a third approval for changes to the development that was first Ok’d in 2008.
The developer of a 52-acre mixed-use senior living campus in York that has been five years in the making said construction could begin this summer if plans for financing are approved.
Chris Sinz, president of CDS Development Company, approached the York City Council last week, seeking a third approval for changes to the development that was first Ok’d in 2008.
Sinz’s project, Olde York Square, would becomes an age-restricted community for people 55 and older with homes, apartments, assisted living beds and rooms for Alzheimer’s patients. It’s located at the northwest corner of S.C. 5 and Alexander Love Highway in York.
“We’re making the plan better,” Sinz said about the proposed changes. “We’re making it stronger because it’s steered toward seniors. Now it’s a complete senior living campus.”
The council gave initial approval to the proposed changes after a public hearing during which several neighbors asked questions and expressed reservations about some of the proposed commercial plans.
A second and final vote is planned at the March 5 meeting.
Sinz said the most recent plans call for 75 patio homes; 156 one- and two-bedroom independent and assisted living apartments; five free-standing assisted living buildings, each with 12 to 16 beds; and 20 memory care rooms for Alzheimer’s patients. It would largely be restricted to ages 55 and older, with just 10 percent to 20 percent of occupancy open to others, he said.
“What we’re trying to do is get more uses on the campus that coordinate with senior living,” Sinz said. “We basically would have people coming there at 55 years of age and they can stay they’re until their 90s. They can move from one transition point to another as they need more assistance.”
He asked the council for flexibility to use commercial parcels on the site for projects that might include a small bowling alley, a gas station and a grooming facility for pets of the residents.
“We’re trying to leave our options open so we can tailor everything to our seniors,” Sinz told the council.
Don and Mary Jane Shuler, who live nearby, were among several neighbors who voiced concerns about the possibility of noise and other hazards from some of the proposed uses.
Don Shuler said he worried about toxins from a gas station leaching into the water supply. Another neighbor worried about loud noise from a bowling alley and barking dogs from a pet care facility.
Sinz said he envisioned such services as small and tailored to seniors, not the public. He also said there would be environmental studies. “We have 400 seniors. We’re not trying to create a hardship for the neigbors,” he said.
York council members have expressed frustration over the past year at the lack of progress on the project. “We’re all hopeful that this thing will come to fruition,” council member Mark Boley told Sinz, adding that “it’s been five years.”
Boley also said he was concerned about a gas station at the site, saying “it cheapens the look. I hope if it’s approved, we can be really careful about what we put out there.”
Sinz said the planned changes include removing 42 condos approved under an earlier plan and replacing them with five one-story assisted living buildings, each with 12 to 16 beds.
In additon, he said, the 75 free-standing homes in the project would be smaller, from 1,350 to 1,750 square feet instead of the originally proposed 2,000 square feet. “We’re trying to build a model with those houses that complies with what seniors want,” he said.
He also said the living spaces would be leased on a month-to-month basis, rather that requiring seniors to buy into the project with a large up-front investment. Cost for the apartments would be $2,495 a month, all costs included, he said.
The council first approved the development in 2008, when it called for 75 residential units, three banks, a coffee shop, restaurants, medical facilities and a drug store, as well as a park, playground and a mile-long walking trail.
However, Sinz said plans for that project were soon derailed by the economic downturn.
In May 2011, the council approved revised plans for an upscale lifestyle community for seniors that would include shopping, fitness facilities, green space and three different levels of care. At that time, Sinz said he expected the project to be open by late 2012.
Sinz’s partners include Myra Strickland, an Allen Tate real estate broker in York County, and Joe Roche, president of Massachusetts-based Momentum Senior Living Group, which would market and manage the facility.
Sinz said the recent delay resulted from a yearlong search for funding that ended late last year. He said he is working with a Charleston firm that plans to finance the project with $40 million in tax-exempt bonds.
He said he sought further changes in the plan due to financing requirements.
“We’re using this plan as a prototype, and what we’re going to do is build it throughout the Southeast, using this model,” he said. “We’re going to start in South Carolina first.”
Sinz said he expects the funding to close in mid-July and construction to begin immediately. He said construction would take about 12 months, and residents could begin moving in during late 2014.