Ashton Plantation called perfect spot for assisted living center

It has been seven years since the building of an assisted-living center was identified as a long-term goal for the parish, but now the pieces seem in place to finally make the center a reality.

D.C. Schonberg and Associates of New Orleans have been chosen to build an assisted-living center on six acres of land owned by St. Charles Parish Hospital in Ashton Plantation. Building the facility will cost between $8 to $10 million, according to Hospital Board Chairman John Landry.

“This is still in the early stages, but we are looking at a 60-unit facility,” he said. “Those figures are based on population, and we will have room to grow.”

In the parish’s 2002 overall planning effort, part of the plan for the health sector of the parish included building an assisted-living facility to house elderly residents that aren’t quite ready for a nursing home but still need care.

The hospital purchased the six acres of land in 2006 for about $1 million, and was trying to build the facility themselves before financing fell through. Now, Schonberg will not only build the assisted-living facility, but will operate it as well.

“Our investment is the land,” Landry said. “D.C. Schonberg and Associates will pay to build the facility and will operate it as well. The hospital will have 10 percent or less ownership and the hospital district will be a part of the process as well.”

Landry said that Schonberg was accepted because the other company that submitted a proposal, Tanguis Development Services LLC, wasn’t going to make a long-term commitment and instead would sell the facility.

“The main goal of getting a center here is for the residents of St. Charles Parish,” Landry said. “This is for those retirees or the elderly who don’t want to live alone in an empty house and want to be around others.

“The developer and operator had to be passionate to the needs of the people of St. Charles Parish.”

Landry said the board took the selection process seriously because the hospital was putting up the property and they wanted to make sure the developer and operator adhered to certain specifications that were designed to help residents.

“We had to make sure that St. Charles Parish residents are on a priority list,” he said.

Landry feels that an assisted-living center will be a huge asset to the parish, and said that he wants residents to be excited about the facility.

“This is going to be big for our parish,” he said. “For those people that grew up here, live here and have family here, they don’t want to have to go to Metairie. We want this facility to be really nice.”

And Landry said the Ashton Plantation location is a perfect fit.

“It’s a new subdivision that’s close to I-310 and the hospital,” he said. “Because of that, there is going to be medical care six blocks away.”

There is plenty of interest in the facility already and Landry said several people have called to see about getting names on the waiting list.

Hospital CEO Fred Martinez has already met with Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell to make sure the hospital’s partnership is within the law and D.C. Schonberg and Associates should make a presentation to the Hospital Board next month.


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