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Landis Homes eyes $49M expansion

to add 80 apartments, learning & wellness center

TIM MEKEEL, LNP Staff Writer
May 25, 2016

Landis Homes takes the wishes of current and prospective residents seriously.

How seriously?

Seriously enough that it will raze seven apartments, demolish 36 cottages and construct $49 million worth of new facilities to fulfill them.

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Where the cottages and apartments now stand, on the north side of the East Oregon Road campus, Landis Homes intends to build 80 larger-size apartments plus a learning-and-wellness center.

“This is part of listening to our constituents through a planning process…,” said Linford Good, vice president of planning and marketing for the retirement community.

Besides current and prospective residents, Landis Homes also weighed input from its employees, its volunteers and the Mennonite Church, with which the retirement community is affiliated.

Ron Barth, chief executive officer of LeadingAge PA, an association of nonprofit senior-service providers including Landis Homes, sees the Landis Homes project as part of a trend toward larger accommodations and more services at retirement communities.

The communities “are being strategic. They have to be” to appeal to the next wave of residents, which wants those features, said Barth.

Landis Homes, though, is pursuing its project in an unusual way — by removing some of its own facilities to make way for new ones.

But as Good explained, Landis Homes has no choice.

“We’re removing lower density housing and creating higher density housing as a way of growing the retirement community on its existing footprint,” said Good on Monday.

“We’re trying to be good stewards of the land. Plus, acquiring more land wouldn’t help us because (the surrounding acreage is) all zoned agricultural,” he said.

Landis Homes, established in 1964, is an affiliate of Landis Communities. Its 114-acre campus is home to 800 residents. The campus employs 538 people.

Manheim Township Commissioners on May 9 approved a preliminary land development plan for this latest venture, which will physically connect buildings on the east and west sides of the campus for the first time.

The project also will connect the community’s independent living area with both its personal care area and skilled care area for the first time.

Relocating cottage residents

To make way for the project’s first phase, Landis Homes this month finished relocating the residents of 30 cottages to similar housing elsewhere on campus, a transition that’s taken two years, said Good.

The first phase will consist of a 103,000-square-foot, four-level building costing $27 million. Landis Homes hopes to break ground in September, with completion in early 2018.

Anchoring the first phase will be the center — to include an indoor pool, exercise space, bistro, salon, pharmacy, bank, offices, classroom and shops — as well as 22 independent-living apartments.

The center will be a place that fosters lifelong learning, promotes wellness and encourages a sense of community, according to Landis Homes.

“Residents moving to the retirement community are interested in wellness, in having programs and the facilities to pursue physical fitness, and learning opportunities to keep their minds engaged,” said Good.

“Both of those things bring opportunities to build relationships and build community with others who are living here or visiting the campus,” he said.

The learning-and-wellness center will meet a desire of current and prospective residents, as well as other stakeholders, for bigger and better facilities for those kinds of activities.

For instance, the new pool will be larger than the current pool it will replace.

It will have windows and a higher ceiling too; the current pool — opened in 1988 — has no windows and a low ceiling. The current pool will be filled and used for storage or recreational activities.

Likewise, the new building’s classroom will give a permanent, larger space for Landis Homes’ popular Pathways Institute adult-education sessions, open to residents and the public alike.

Bigger apartments

Landis Homes also followed the input of its stakeholders in deciding that all of phase one’s new apartments will be two-bedroom units, with 1.5 or two baths.

Some “75 percent of our applicants are requesting two bedrooms and more than one bath,” noted Good. But 80 percent of Landis Homes’ apartments are one bedroom, one bath.

Also new to Landis Homes via phase one will be the construction of a main entrance off East Oregon Road to serve the whole campus; Landis Homes now has just east and west entrances.

As phase one is wrapping up, Landis Homes will clear the way for phase two by vacating and razing six more cottages plus seven apartments.

In their place will go a 140,000-square-foot structure with 58 apartments, costing $22 million. Completion is set for year-end 2018.

Again, the focus will be on creating larger-size apartments.

These will be a mix of two bedroom/two bath units, and one bedroom with den/1.5 bath units.

Phase two also will include an enclosed walkway to the campus’ personal care wing, providing an indoor connection between an independent living area and personal care/skilled care areas for the first time.


© LNP, 2016


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