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Spectrum Retirement discusses planned Anthem facility

Elizabeth Medora~ 11/19/2014

ANTHEM – Spectrum Retirement Communities is proposing to bring a retirement facility to Anthem. This facility would be located on Venture Drive. It would offer independent living apartments, as well as assisted living and memory care apartments.

Spectrum developers put forth a design proposal at a meeting at the Anthem Civic Building on Nov. 12, detailing the project’s design and impact.

Mike Longfellow, Spectrum Vice President, Construction and Development, thanked the Anthem Community Council for helping bring about the meeting and “working with us to help us know what we’re proposing for the community is what’s best for Anthem.”

“The promises we make are the ones we keep long-term,” Longfellow said, speaking of the community impact Spectrum would have. “Creating exceptional communities is really our goal,” Longfellow emphasized, paraphrasing the Spectrum mission statement.

Longfellow addressed why Spectrum wanted to build a facility in Anthem.

“Anthem is a community that we’ve had our eye on for a few years,” he noted. “We’re very selective about our communities. We have wanted to be in Anthem – we feel like we’re a good fit.”

If Spectrum’s plans come to fruition, they will not be the only retirement facility in Anthem. Merrill Gardens has been approved to build a retirement facility near Meridian Drive.

Longfellow noted that Spectrum is “very aware of Merrill Gardens going in.” He called Merrill Gardens a “great operator for Anthem” and added that Spectrum feels that “there is more than enough room for Merrill Gardens and us.”

“We’re very conservative with our demographic analysis,” Longfellow said, noting that Spectrum facilities’ occupancy rate is over 97 percent.

The Spectrum facility is reported to be similar in elevation to houses on Venture Drive. The facility site is just south of the Anthem Civic Building, west of the Safeway Plaza, and north of the Paseo homes. One section of the building will be three stories high; the three-story section is closer to Anthem Way than to homes.

“The lower elevation is intentionally closer to houses,” Longfellow said.

Some of the meeting attendees objected to the three-story section of the building.

Longfellow noted that there are nearby office buildings that are three stories and that the extra space is needed due to the size of the site. Longfellow also noted that the Anthem Community Council has commented that they want more of the building to be only two stories.

“We’re trying to get a feel for how that will work,” Longfellow said.

While the Council has discussed lowering the building height, three-story buildings do meet Anthem guidelines.

“The height meets Anthem guidelines,” said Rona Reznick, Business Services & Code Specialist for the Anthem Community Council. She added that they had “made sure that was correct when we first talked about this.”

“It is within the guidelines and the restrictions for Maricopa County,” Reznick added.

The facility would include 156 units. It would hold similarities to other Spectrum facilities, including one at Loop 101 and Union Hills Drive.

Longfellow specified that 40 percent of Spectrum facilities is amenity space. The amenities planned for the Spectrum building include multiple dining rooms, a bistro, beauty salons, a theater, multiple game rooms, multiple parlors and sitting areas, a pool, and three courtyards. Lush landscaping and several gardens are planned.

If approved, Spectrum plans to begin construction as soon as possible.

Longfellow designated that if everything was approved, they could be “turning a shovel” in about a year. The overall construction period would be about 15 months.

Reznick reported that there will be another meeting to discuss the Spectrum project plans and the potential approvals. This meeting date has not yet been set.

For more information on Spectrum facilities, see www.spectrumretirement.com.