Brothers of Mercy begin work on new senior living complex

by KIMBERLEE SABSHIN
Fri, Jul 4th 2014 10:00 am

Next fall, seniors in Western New York will have the option to spend retirement in a new and luxurious facility. On June 25, the Brothers of Mercy held a groundbreaking ceremony for an upcoming addition to their campus in Clarence. Montabaur Heights will be an independent senior living community offering a wide variety of amenities close to the order's nursing and rehabilitation center.

Elected officials at this groundbreaking ceremony included Clarence Town Supervisor David Hartzell, New York State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Town Board members Patrick Casilio and Robert A. Geiger, and Matthew McNeil, a representative for U.S. Representative Christopher Collins.

The Brothers of Mercy campus includes 126 acres, on which they will build the 111-apartment complex. It will include one and two-bedroom apartments. The planned one-bedroom apartments feature one full-sized bathroom, while the two-bedroom units feature either one full and one half bathroom or two full bathrooms. Each unit includes individual heating and air conditioning units, which residents may control, and a patio or balcony as well as walk-in closets and showers.

"There are 37 one-bedroom single bathrooms, 50 two-bedroom, one and a half bathrooms and 24 two-bedroom, two bathrooms," Peter Eimer, chief operating officer for the Brothers of Mercy, said. "We're hoping to open in the fall of 2015, hopefully like September. It will depend on the weather this winter, and everything else. We've actually been working on this for years."

All apartment units at Montabaur Heights will also include dishwashers, garbage disposals, microwaves, washers and dryers, free wireless Internet and wheelchair access. Other amenities include daily meals, a 24-hour emergency response system, security, housekeeping and maintenance, banking services, complimentary transportation and a fitness center with exercise classes, including utilities.

There will also be a movie theater, arts and crafts, a library, a lounge area with a fireplace, outdoor gardens and walking paths, a billiard lounge and additional activities. A la carte services will include a grocery store, gift shop, bar and café/bistro, a beauty salon and barbershop, all on site.

"Usually, the (a la carte) services are separate," Eimer said. "What we are looking at is a formula where people will have a monthly allotment on a swipe card, and they can use that for all these other items as well. They're going to have so much money on their card for all of their food, and you could possibly use the card at those other places, for these other items as well."

The services such as the fitness center and dining room will be included with the price of rent, and the grocery store will be offered through the order. Family and friends of residents may visit the complex and use some of the entertainment. A 24-hour security system and cameras will prevent any unauthorized individuals from entering the complex.

Eimer said the order has been looking at many different layouts for the new design, and considered some ideas "with no frills, no services," and others with food and extra services. He said, after completing several market studies, the studies concluded that an all-inclusive facility is in demand in the Western New York area. He added, "It's been a long project. We had to find the right bank and the right builder, and the right developer. It's been a number of years." In addition to the new employment opportunities, the brothers will be involved in the new residence. There will be a chapel on site with weekly Mass services.

According to Eimer, the Montabaur Heights project will cost $18 million and is the first step of a $42 million project to renovate the Brothers of Mercy campus, which will add construction jobs as well as 25 permanent new jobs. Funding for the project will come from Northwest Savings Bank. The order used donation money from its foundation for the site work and studies, but the bank will pay for the actual construction. The preliminary work included soil samples and testing, appraisals and surveys.

The new complex will be located near the existing senior apartments on the Brothers of Mercy campus. An additional $1.5 million will also go toward the renovation and remodeling of these old apartment units, courtesy of a New York State grant, and the roof, flooring, corridors, lighting, sidewalks and kitchen appliances of these older apartments will all be updated, Eimer said.

 "It gives us the full continuum of services, from independent living to adult homes, to skilled nursing and rehab. It's all on one campus," he said. "We have about 55 percent Medicaid in our nursing homes. This is a building that will help us continue the mission of serving all people, including poor people, so that's one of the reasons for this. We're hoping to bring the Clarence senior center to the campus; we're looking at Primary Care being brought to the campus, we're looking at outpatient rehab ... there's going to be a lot of medical and non-medical residential type stuff on the campus, all in one spot."

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