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Senior living center gets critical reception

Aug. 27, 2014

Brown Deer — A four-story senior living center proposal was met with a critical reception during a public information meeting Monday, Aug. 25.

New Perspective Senior Living is proposing to build a 164,470-square-foot building featuring a four-story assisted living facility and an attached one-story memory care facility behind the Beaver Creek Condominiums on the west side of 60th Street, north of Brown Deer Road. The 130-unit facility will consist of about 46 memory care units and 87 assisted living units — although New Perspective Senior Living CEO Todd Novaczyk said not all seniors will need assistance.

The area behind the Beaver Creek Conominiums has been a site of contention for local residents.

In 2007, Brown Deer partnered with developer General Capital to build 51 condos at the Beaver Creek site. General Capital built 10 before the economic crash of 2008, after which four sold and the remaining six languished before they were eventually rented. In an attempt to turn around their investment, General Capital, in conjunction with Jewish Family Services, planned to build 44 units that offered a mix of low-income and disability-friendly apartments at the site.

More than 1,000 neighbors signed a petition rejecting those plans, and the project never moved forward.

Although New Perspective's development — titled Lighthouse of Brown Deer — does not contain low-income housing, residents still seemed wary of the developer's sales pitch. In response to residents' concerns, Novaczyk said his facility does not receive government assistance and the rent for an assisted living unit would likely start at $2,600 per month. If the Lighthouse project is approved, New Perspective would also take ownership of the 10 previously-built condominiums, which would be rented out.

Petition against rentals

Despite the steep rent prices, some residents said they remained opposed to anything other than owner-occupied homes.

"We do not want rentals of any kind," resident Cynthia Brown said. "I'm flabbergasted the village would even entertain something like this knowing full well we've produced over 1,000 signatures saying we want owner-occupied."

New Perspective Senior Living already operates a 28-bed memory care facility on 47th Street, south of Bradley Road. If the new development is approved, the village would consider purchasing the 47th Street facility, opening up potential for redevelopment in the area.

New Perspective's senior living proposal won the support of one of the previous petitioners, Julie Hall, who lives near 60th and Silver Brook Lane. She said she took her stepfather to the existing Lighthouse facility in Brown Deer and was impressed by the level of care.

"When you have somebody with Alzheimer's you need something like this," she said.

Other residents raised concerns about the height of the Lighthouse building, the number of senior housing options in the area and the amount of traffic that would be caused by emergency vehicles and visiting relatives.

Brown Deer's Community Development Director Nate Piotrowski said the village has 327 independent living units contained in four buildings and another 58 assisted living units contained in four buildings.

In order for the Lighthouse project to be approved, the lot would have to be changed from condominium zoning to assisted living zoning at a Sept. 8 plan commission meeting. Any potential village financing would be discussed at a Community Development Authority meeting that same night. If the plan commission and CDA reach a recommendation that night, the proposal would go to the Village Board on Sept. 15. Pending those approvals, the project could break ground as soon as November.

The proposed Lighthouse facility would feature a warm water therapy pool; a Fitness Center offering a gym and rehabilitation services; a variety of dining options including a bistro, restaurant style dining room, and pub; and ongoing social opportunities through activities in its dance hall, craft centers, or library. The company anticipates it will provide 60 full-time jobs.

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