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Colonnade expansion plans advance: Sun Health to add assisted living, memory care to Surprise campus

Posted 1/11/18

By Matt Roy, Independent Newsmedia

Aging seniors may soon have more options as they seek to “age in place” in the Sun Cities area.

One of the community’s largest healthcare providers …

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Colonnade expansion plans advance: Sun Health to add assisted living, memory care to Surprise campus


By Matt Roy, Independent Newsmedia

Aging seniors may soon have more options as they seek to “age in place” in the Sun Cities area.

One of the community’s largest healthcare providers looks to increase their presence and provide new services, making room for more residents at their Surprise independent living facility and adding assisted living and memory care options, according to Dan Liguori, executive director of Sun Health Senior Living.

“The Colonnade, a Sun Health Life Care Community, is very excited to announce that groundbreaking is starting for their highly anticipated new assisted living and memory support addition to their campus,” Mr. Liguori stated by email.

The Surprise Planning & Zoning Commission advanced the plan by Sun Health to expand The Colonnade, 19116 N. Colonnade Way. The seven-member panel voted to approve the proposed site plan at their Jan. 4 regular meeting at City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza.

The project would add an 82,000-square-foot assisted living and memory care facility on 5.5 acres of their 45-acre campus. The new building will rise along Yorkshire Drive west of Grand Avenue, nestled between the Sun City Grand and Sun City West active senior communities.

The original construction schedule has been expedited to address immediate needs and add assisted living and memory care options for current and prospective residents, explained Hobart Wingard, a planner for the city who presented the project to the commission.

“In this project, they planned for three different phases, but that has changed due to demand,” said Mr. Wingard. “Both the memory care and the assisted living will be included in the initial phase.”

Jean Bonde, president of the residents’ association at The Colonnade, also spoke to the panel about the urgent need to expand sooner than later.

“We have 310 residents approximately living on the campus and we currently have somewhere between 10 and 12 – it varies, sometimes – that are now living off-campus because we cannot provide the services of assisted living and memory care,” said Ms. Bonde. “Any way that you can expedite this for us – we are about three years behind the original promise dates these two buildings to be added on and those services – so, I am just here to say that we are all very much behind this project.”

More than a dozen other Colonnade residents attended the meeting as a show of support for the project, which will compress the originally planned first two phases into a single project to break ground within weeks.

The first block of assisted living units and the memory care portions will be included in construction schedule aiming for completion before the end of the year, Mr. Liguori explained.

“Phase one will add 26 apartments for assisted living and 24 apartments for memory support,” Mr. Liguori stated. “This addition will enhance the campus while enabling current residents to continue to age in place if such a need should ever arise for their continued care.”

Another 24 assisted living apartments will be added in a latter phase on the campus, which marks completion of its first decade in the community this year, Mr. Liguori added.

Commissioner Eric Cultum was the only panelist to raise concerns about the project, suggesting Sun Health should increase the planned parking capacity, although their proposal already exceeds the city’s requirement by nearly 60 spaces.

“I understand that the project at a minimum only requires 36 parking spaces. I’ll just say that there tends to be in our city an underservice of parking spots,” said Mr. Cultum. “So, although I look and see its 94 parking places, I would suggest an increased amount.”

Though he expressed approval for the added services and Sun Health’s plan, Mr. Cultum was the lone dissenter as the commission voted 6-1 to advance to project for City Council consideration.

Paul Vanderveen, Sun Health’s director for real estate development, explained how the construction will progress, should the council approve the plan.

“We are doing groundbreaking on Jan. 26 and we plan to be moving equipment in there in early February,” Mr. Vanderveen said.

With civil engineering and site improvements to start immediately, building construction will follow soon after, he added.

“We plan somewhere around April seeing that go vertical,” Mr. Vanderveen said. “We do anticipate a construction finish in December. Then we have some licensing, which takes about 60 days after that.”