Ground broken on HarborChase of Shaker Heights, city’s first new senior care option in 20 years –

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Nearly two years after reaching initial agreement for the sale of vacant Urban Renewal property, developers have broken ground on the first senior living community built in the city in 20 years.

In addition to the sale price of $1.34 million for 3 acres of city-owned land — known as the “Avalon Station 2” site — the 107,000-square-foot HarborChase of Shaker Heights facility will meet the demand for increased senior housing options. It is slated to have 80 assisted-living apartments and 28 memory-care units.

“As one of our first communities to break ground on the heels of the pandemic, we are grateful for our continued collaboration with Confluent Development, which enabled us to bring HarborChase of Shaker Heights to life and deliver a ‘best-in-class’ project,” Charlie Jennings, chief development officer of Harbor Retirement Associates, said in a press release.

Jennings was referring to the parent company of Confluent Senior Living, the partner on the project, with the 108 licensed senior living units to be constructed in a three-story building at 17000 Van Aken Blvd. The project could be completed by late 2022.

Confluent’s senior development director, Matt Derrick, stated in the press release that Shaker needed a new senior living residential community to accommodate a growing and underserved senior demographic, which makes up more than 18 percent of the local population.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, this groundbreaking represents a new era in residential offerings for the surrounding communities and a significant milestone in our partnership with HRA, as we expand in the Ohio market and deploy our new Whole Health Standard (a company strategy for currently high commodities pricing) across our projects,” Derrick added.

Aside from the sale price on the land, the city stands to gain on the projected $2.9 million payroll for 75 new jobs coming to town, resulting in about $65,000 more in annual local income tax collections.

“This is a very significant new investment in Shaker Heights and will also create new jobs in our city,” Mayor David Weiss added in the press release.

“We are pleased that the Confluent team recognized the significant potential of this location and will leverage the easy access to public transportation and vibrant commercial districts for the benefit of senior residents, their families and the employees of HarborChase,” he said.

The “easy access” includes a short walk from the Greater Cleveland RTA’s Lee-Van Aken rapid station, with the Blue Line tracks going right past the new senior community and continuing east about a mile to the Van Aken District.

Because the land sits within the Shaker Towne Center tax increment financing (TIF) district, the city will receive 75 percent of an estimated $760,000 in property taxes annually, which will work out to about $570,000 a year in what are known as “payments in lieu of taxes” or “PILOTs.”

Those proceeds will be used to help pay off the longstanding bond debt taken out by the city for the shopping plaza and Avalon Station.

Shaker Heights City School District officials were also being contacted to check on any PILOTs coming their way.

Shaker Heights Finance Director John Potts confirmed Monday (July 19) that the city has received its initial $1.34 million payment on the sale of the land.

That amount would have been slightly higher based on the original sale formula, calculated at $13,500 per unit. But when the development cost also escalated with a requirement for a $360,000 underground stormwater detention system, the city agreed to kick in $150,000 toward that expense.

City Law Director William Ondrey Gruber added that the property was transferred July 6 to CD HRA (Shaker Heights) LLC, which is owned by Confluent Development.

“Shaker Heights has always prided itself on offering a wide range of housing options for residents at every age and stage of life,” Weiss said.

“HarborChase of Shaker Heights fills a need for a high-quality, full-service and amenity-rich senior living option in our community.”

The HarborChase of Shaker Heights community represents the project partners’ second senior living property in Ohio — the other is in Beavercreek, outside Dayton — and the ninth joint venture across six states. Confluent is based in Denver and HRA in Vero Beach, Fla.

The project’s design and architecture will be led entirely by Ohio-based project partners to ensure that the community is tailored to the needs of its local residents, the press release noted.

Located in Shaker just to the east on Chagrin Boulevard, RDL Architects is the architect on the project, with the Toledo-based Douglas Company serving as general contractor. Mannik & Smith Group (MSG), which moved to the Van Aken District in 2018, serves as the project’s civil engineer.

“We’ve always looked to Confluent for innovation in senior living development, but amid the pandemic, their forward-looking ideas have integrated seamlessly with HRA’s vision,” Jennings added.

“This community will not only enhance the health and safety for all, but it will create an environment that supports residents at this stage in their lives.”

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