Developers Break Ground On Founders Drive Retirement Community
Village leaders and representatives from Essex Corporation gathered Thursday to break ground on a 193,000-square-feet senior living community on Founders Drive. The first stage of the project is expected to be complete in 2013.
Developers broke ground on a 193,000-square-foot senior living community on Founders Drive last week.
Managed by Nebraska-based Essex Corporation, The Lodge of Northbrook will offer up to 130 independent living units to seniors age 55 years and older. The first stage of the project is expected to be complete in 2013.
"Northbrook has been working hard to bring more senior housing options to our community. But, it has always been more important to us to make sure we did it right, rather than quickly,” President Sandy Frum said in a press release. “This groundbreaking marks the culmination of years of hard work and commitment by the board of trustees, Essex and Techny working together to deliver quality senior housing that complements our community.”
In addition to Frum, Essex Corporation president Kent Braasch and Brother Mathew Zemel, SVD, President of Techny Land Corporation, were also on hand for the groundbreaking Thursday.
As part of the ceremony, officials buried a time capsule on site, to be opened in 50 years. It contained a blueprint of the Techny community, an iPhone, a Northbrook Star newspaper, a gas receipt and menus from nearby restaurants, among other items.
The Lodge of Northbrook is a long time coming. While the project was originally approved by the village board in 2009, changes in plans for the building’s exterior, roof and number of units required the developers to go back to the village for approval.
Developers also went back and forth with the village board over the number of "affordable" housing units required in the property.
When the Lodge of Northbrook was originally approved by the board of trustees in 2009, the village created a new zoning district for the project, with a requirement that 10 percent of units be “affordable.” As defined by the village, “affordable” meant that a unit was affordable to anyone with an annual household income equal to or less than 60 percent of the median household income of Northbrook residents age 65 or older. The developers based their affordability standards on projected median household income in 2013 as well as median home prices within a three-mile radius of the site.
Under the developer’s revised proposal, 15 percent of the units are classified as “affordable,” with 5 percent of those affordable to anyone with a household income less than 50 percent of the median of seniors age 65 or older and 10 percent affordable to anyone with an income between 50 and 80 percent of the median. Affordable units were increased to meet the request of the Divine Word Society, which owns the land at Founders Drive where Essex Corporation hopes to construct The Lodge.
For the least expensive units, residents will have to put down an $84,782 entry fee, and pay $1,635 per month. Under the old plan, the entry fee was $30,000 and monthly payments were capped at $1,761.
“We don’t think the entrance fee will be a significant issue,” Essex Corporation representative Doug Deines told the village board in November. “For seniors, typically asset is not their problem.”
The entrance fee would also be refunded to the resident or his or her estate when he or she moves out, according to Deines.
“We think we defined it as how affordable independent senior living in Northbrook should be defined,” he said.