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Beline Obeid

Cottage, American House move forward

April 18, 2013
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Senior citizens are lining up to live on the Hill.

“The 30 people we have on our waiting list are from the Grosse Pointe area,” said Barbara Barrel, operators director for American House Senior Living Communities.

American House is on track to open a roughly 80-room facility on the second and third floors of Henry Ford Cottage Hospital by late 2014.

Grosse Pointe Farms Mayor James Farquhar and a united city council supported construction this week as being good for the Farms and Grosse Pointes as a whole.

“It meets a need,” Farquhar said. “It allows seniors to remain in the community.”

“Locating senior housing in downtown Grosse Pointe Farms addresses a housing need while providing seniors close and convenient access to several existing amenities, such as health care facilities, retail, sidewalks and transit,” according to an endorsement by John Jackson, senior vice president of McKenna Associates, the Farms planning consultant.

“Construction is planned to begin as early as September,” according to Tom Dillenbeck, senior associate with Hobbs & Black architects, based in Ann Arbor. “Construction is scheduled for a 14-month duration. Occupancy will take place immediately upon completion.”

Hospital operations on the first floor, including radiology and outpatient ambulatory surgery, will remain as they are.

The $12 million renovation focuses on the top two floors and exterior.

Renderings show the second floor transformed into 40 independent care units, a common area, dining room, kitchen and cafe.

The third floor will have 30 assisted living units and 10 memory care rooms.

Living options range from studio to double-bedroom condominiums.

Architects put a premium on maintaining Cottage Hospitals’s original brick and limestone architecture, built in 1928.

“Our intention is to keep the architecture as in keeping with the existing design as possible,” said James Sharba, director of design for Hobbs & Black.

Two new front entrances on the Kercheval facade will be made of brick and cast stone.

The materials are “more in character with the existing structure,” Sharba said.

Cottage’s new use is forecast to reduce parking congestion on the Hill.

“The anticipated use (results) in a surplus of 218 parking spaces,” according to Terry Brennan, Farms director of public services.

“This will allow other users in downtown to use the surplus of parking, resulting in a decrease in the necessity to construct more parking downtown,” Jackson said.

American House also will lease 70 spaces in the parking deck on Muir.

The company was founded in 1979 and operates nearly 30 senior living facilities in metropolitan Detroit.

“Generally, our residents come from a 10- to-15-mile radius of the facility,” and Tim McCafferty, senior project manager for REDICO, a real estate development firm partnering on the Cottage project.

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