An Orlando developer is moving forward with the final permit applications for a $26 million assisted living facility on North Shore Drive in Eustis and hoping to find a new lender after the original financing partner backed out due to COVID-19.
Partners Daniel Kennerly and Greg Bond went through a lengthy rezoning and site approval process with the city for the 2-acre assemblage overlooking Lake Eustis for the Lake House, a 98-room ALF, and recently submitted construction plans to St. Johns River Water Management District for the 3-story building. The project, which comprises nearly an entire block, lies within an opportunity zone and it’s steps from the city’s proposed Sailing & Conference Center.
“We had financing in place in January, and we were set to close in April. Then COVID happened,” Kennerly said. “The financing fell through, so now we’re doing everything we can to find a new financing partner. If we can get the financing in place, we can go start to go vertical in January. We’re so close.”
Kennerly and Bond, principals of North Shore Development Group, spent about $1.56 million assembling the nine parcels for the project. They had initially envisioned a smaller facility with about 20 beds, but decided that wouldn’t be the highest and best use of the land. They both felt there was a growing demand for a modern, new ALF in the Eustis market, where one hadn’t been built in the last 10 years.
Kennerly, a custom home builder, said this is the first time he and Bond have developed a project of this scale, so they assembled a team of experienced pros with decades in the senior housing space. They brought on Windermere Strategic Partners as advisors and selected Bessolo Design Group as the architect. BESH HALFF is their civil engineer, and Wharton Smith is the GC. The operating partner will be Solvere Senior Living.
“We realized the hardest project to finance is your first major project, so we didn’t want there to be any weak links,” Kennerly said.
Kevin Bessolo, who specializes in ALF design, came up with a building that maximizes its greatest asset: the views of Lake Eustis. The main dining room and 60% of the dwelling units will enjoy lake views.
“We own the waterfront, as well, so we’ll build a dock and gazebo where residents can go look out on the lake or fish,” Kennerly said.
The pandemic-related delay also gave them a chance to design upgrades to the dining spaces and ventilation system. The facility will have a mix of studio and one-bedroom apartments, and a handful of two-bedroom units. A total of 24 rooms are dedicated to memory care.
“The facility is divided into six ‘neighborhoods,’ and we have the ability to close them off if we need to,” he said. The team also upgraded to a full-service generator so the building can run a full capacity in the event of a power failure.
The Lake House would be the second new ALF in Lake County’s 2020 pipeline. Earlier this summer, a Texas-based developer filed for building permits for a 152-unit senior living community in Leesburg with a split of independent and assisted living units.
Plans for a third new ALF in Clermont hit a road block earlier this year when the city’s Planning & Zoning Board recommending denying the project on Hartwood Marsh Road. The case went to Clermont City Council in August and September, but was tabled in Jan. 26, 2021.