BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
Michael Schonbrun, founder and CEO of Balfour Senior Living, brought his executive team to Greenwood Village City Hall on November 19 to explain his plans to build a 300-unit senior living facility to a roomful of very interested residents. He brought photos from the facilities he currently operates in Louisville, downtown Denver, Stapleton, and Littleton, to show neighbors what they might expect at Balfour Greenwood Village, planned for the 13-acre site just north of the Triad office park at 5555 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard.
He explained that 60 percent of the 300 units will be designed for independent living and may include some cottages, with the other 40 percent consisting of assisted living and memory care. One and two-bedroom independent living units, which include kitchens, are expected to rent for $5,000 to $15,000 per month, while memory care units, without kitchens, will likely rent for $8,000 to $10,000 per month. Residents in the independent living units will receive breakfast daily and 15 additional meals each month, chosen from either lunch or dinner. Residents in assisted living and memory care units will receive all their meals at the facility.
Why Greenwood Village? Schonbrun posed the question and then he answered it. “Because people here have the resources and the taste,” he said.
Schonbrun explained that all his facilities use bright colors and buildings are designed to fit into the local community. All have baby grand pianos available. Buildings will not exceed 45 feet in height at the north end of the development and 57 feet in height at the south end.
Lee Payne, associate principal at DTJ Design, Balfour’s architect, told the audience that he envisions traditional architecture with modern features using sloped roofs and formal landscaping for Balfour Greenwood Village. Most of the residents were generally positive about the design concept Payne presented. Jackie Davis, of Greenwood Hills, was skeptical. She said that it “doesn’t fit in with anything around it” and that “It kind of looks like Howard Johnson’s or Village Inn.” Payne pointed out that “these styles are rooted in history but modern. The office buildings in the area could be anywhere.”
On traffic, Schonbrun said they have a robust transportation program in which they will use Teslas to take people where they wish to go and larger vehicles for group outings. On the larger question, he said that typically, in the beginning, about one-third of residents in independent living have their own cars, but that eventually goes down to one-fourth. He said he expects employees to mainly use the Orchard Light Rail Station to get to and from work.
The next step in the process is a public hearing at the GV planning and zoning commission, which is not yet scheduled, but will likely occur early in 2020. After the case is heard there, it will proceed to the city council for another public hearing. Construction of the project is expected to take 18 to 24 months after approval by the city council.
Michael Schonbrun is a graduate of Yale University and holds a juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. He served as president of National Jewish Health from 1982 to 1991. He has also served as chair of the board of directors of the Alzheimer’s Association Rocky Mountain Chapter.
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