Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Plans at Cottage coming along

by Brad Lindberg Staff Writer

December 13, 2012

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Developers hoping to augment Cottage Hospital with senior housing and assisted living presented the city council this week a preliminary notion of what the facility might look like upon opening in August, 2014, if everything goes right.

“We’re here to present our conceptual plans for what we hope to bring in the future for site plan approval,” said Tim McCaffey, senior project manager for REDICO, a real estate development firm.

REDICO is teaming with American House Senior Living Communities and Henry Ford Health System.

They’re preparing to renovate the second and third floors of Henry Ford Medical Center-Cottage Hospital on the Hill into 78 studio, single and double-bedroom condominiums.

The breakdown is 38 independent living quarters and a communal dining area on the second floor.

The third floor would consist of 30 assisted living units and 10 memory care units. Each division has a dedicated dining area.

“It’s purely conceptual,” said James Sharba, lead designer at Hobbs & Black in Ann Arbor

A hospital representative said such housing meets the needs of the community’s aging population.

“We went through market studies and found there was significant demand for senior living in the area,” McCaffey said.

“We want to focus a lot of energy on better serving our senior population right here in the area,” said Paul Szilagyi, regional vice president, primary care and medical center, Henry Ford Health System.

The residential development, with the working title American House Grosse Pointe Farms, would share a medical campus being “more and more” oriented toward the needs of senior citizens, according to Szilagyi.

He said:

“Our emergency room is the only Henry Ford Health System emergency room certified in senior care.

“We have our first senior assessment center inside the Cottage facility itself.

“We’re enhancing services at Pierson Clinic, where we rent space, and adding new services that fit with what we’re doing at Cottage, including adding EMT and audiology; also, some of the most advanced glaucoma treatment anywhere in the Henry Ford Health System.”

In short, American House Grosse Pointe Farms “fits,” Szilagyi said. “This is one of the most unique and exciting projects we’ve done.”

Architects propose using the original, 1928 main entrance facing Kercheval.

Motor vehicle traffic enters from Kercheval, then exits onto Kercheval or northbound Muir, toward the multi-level parking garage.

“We believe this will reduce congestion and traffic onto Kercheval and provide better flow,” Sharba said.

Farms officials are likely to confirm that prospect by commissioning a traffic study.

Off-site parking for employees and extra visitors is provided by leasing half of the parking deck’s third floor.

Developers value the original building’s architecture.

“We want to maintain that look, with the Tudor design and old brick,” Sharba said.

Hospital operations would focus on first floor radiology and outpatient ambulatory surgery, Szilagyi said.

Continued emergency room operations “remain to be seen,” he said. “Right now, its self-sustaining. If worse came to worse, it may be an advanced first care facility of some sort.”

Developers announced the project last June with hopes of starting construction last fall.

“Now, we’re moving forward,” Sharba said.

They’ll need Farms site plan approval before breaking ground in June.