Senior Housing Proposed For Lake Avenue
SARATOGA SPRINGS – For weeks, residents had seen the signs.
First, the signs said that The St. John Neumann Residence on the St. Clement’s campus at 233 Lake Avenue was “for sale.” Then later, “sale pending.” And though there was some buzz that the Bonacio Corporation was the pending buyer, the actual development details were a closely guarded secret.
The big reveal took place at the Saratoga Springs City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 18 as a contingent led by Attorney Michael Toohey, The LA Group’s Principal-in-Charge C. Michael Ingersoll, Bradley Birge of the Saratoga Springs Planning Office and Sonny Bonacio detailed plans for an “adaptive reuse” of the residence – converting it into senior housing.
A total of 85 senior apartments have been proposed for the residence. These would not be assisted living facilities but rather accommodations designed for ages 55 and older.
The item before the council, which passed unanimously, was to “merit for review” a change in the comprehensive plan and zoning maps that would re-designate the parcel containing the residence to UR-1, which Mr. Toohey noted was the zoning designation for the surrounding neighborhood, and allow for the senior apartment project to be a permitted use. Currently the building is zoned for Institutional/Educational use.
The design proposed to the council involved minimal modifications to the building’s façade, which Mr. Toohey described as an important building to the city as well as a major “entrance statement” for those entering the city from the East.
The major structural adaptations would not be visible from Lake Avenue. Two additional wings will be built onto the residence’s rear side, and parking will be increased. Mr. Toohey detailed to the council a tree survey that had been completed prior to developing the plan, with the intent of minimizing the loss of trees on the property.
The sale of the property is contingent on the zoning change, and there will be many meetings (before Design Review and Zoning committees as well as further planned neighborhood information meetings) before the zoning modification can actually be made official.
Should the project proceed, there will also be a need to attend to several environmental issues at the St. John Neumann Residence. These include asbestos and mold abatement, the costs of which Mayor Joanne Yepsen noted, in expressing support for the project, had driven other developers away.