Woodstock assisted living facility granted another chance

WOODSTOCK – Developers of a 56-unit Woodstock assisted living facility are confident they can start their project during an 18-month period that likely will serve as their last chance.

The Downtown Company, a South Barrington-based firm that does development and consulting for senior living operators, was granted a second extension on its special-use permit by the Woodstock City Council on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, it’s the economic reality,” Councilman Mark Saladin said at the meeting. “I wish it were better news, but I think we have to be flexible with requests like this.”

Located at the corner of Tryon and West Calhoun streets, the proposed facility would staff nurses 24 hours a day and provide senior living for adults who need help with daily functions. It also would serve those with memory-related needs.

“If you’re an active 75-year-old, you’re not going to be here,” Ed Jacobs of The Downtown Company said. “Independent living – that’s a different model.”

Developers originally secured the special use in spring 2009. After a one-year administrative time extension, the City Council granted a first 18-month extension in February 2011. It extended the permit an additional 18 months Tuesday with a 5-1 vote.

Jacobs said that finding investors has become more difficult since the economic downturn, but he is confident the pieces will fall into place.

The Downtown Company works to simultaneously bring together an operator of the site with a funding source, Jacobs said.

“It’s really tough to predict,” Jacobs said. “I wouldn’t waste my time on it if I didn’t believe it’s going to happen.”

He added that the center would fill a need in McHenry County in addition to being a strong architectural addition to Woodstock.

“Being two blocks off the Square, this would be a dramatic building,” Jacobs said. “This would be something that would be significant for the community.”

The City Council agreed, but it might not be as understanding should the project fail to get started by 2015.
“It would come before council,” Mayor Brian Sager said. “But I could not support a further extension.”

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