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Merrillville memory-care facility plans on track


Updated: January 6, 2014 12:54PM

MERRILLVILLE — The Plan Commission gave a thumbs-up to landscaping and other plans for an upscale memory care facility proposed by area businessman/developer Dean White during its Tuesday night workshop session.

The commission set a public hearing on the planned-unit development for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at town hall, 7820 Broadway. The proposed facility would be built on a 9.5-acre parcel at 7900 Rhode Island St.

Planners particularly liked the landscaping, which developer Whiteco Industries of Merrillville worked on with Matt Lake, executive director of the town’s Stormwater Utility.

Those plans include a rain garden in an interior courtyard.

“When residents look into the courtyard it will be very pleasant looking,” Zoning director Dorinda Gregor said.

He said some minor engineering concerns remain but will be worked out before developers seek final planned-unit development approval, probably in January.

“They hope to begin building in March and expect it will take about nine months to complete,” Gregor said. “It should be open by year’s end next year.”

The project needs preliminary and final approval by the Plan Commission, as well as ordinance approval for a planned-unit development by the Town Council, which Gregor said could be granted in February.

John Howard, in real estate and development for Whiteco Industries, said at a previous commission meeting that the facility would be for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

It would be built by KC Development of Monona, Wisc., which operates more than 20 similar facilities in various states, Howard said.

Ken Antaramian, a builder and engineer for KC Development, said at the previous meeting the one-story, 32,000-square-foot building will have a butterfly garden and other gardens.

Antaramian said there will be 48 to 50 bedrooms, all but two or three of which will be single rooms. He said a few will be saved for husbands and wives or siblings to live together. Each unit would have a bedroom and a bath.

“There will be a lot of gathering rooms and small bedrooms. They want individuals to go into the gathering areas,” Gregor said.

The facility, expected to cost between $10 million and $15 million, will have about 40 employees.

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