Waterford Place Seeks Pre-Tenants

July 11, 2005
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GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP — Sunset Association has completed preliminary site development and is now in the midst of an aggressive marketing campaign for its third senior housing development in Ottawa County.

Located at the southeast corner of Port Sheldon Road and 18th Avenue in Georgetown Township, the estimated 331-unit Waterford Place is a 526,000-square-foot development expected to cost in excess of $50 million in Phase I construction.

Over the course of the winter, an eight-acre lake was built on the north end of the property. The building site was elevated roughly six feet, and the entire piece of property was elevated above the 500-year flood plain.

Currently, the underground site facilities that will lead into the development are under construction.

“We made it very build-able property,” said Lori Hoorn, Waterford Place marketing director.

But that “building” probably won’t happen for quite some time.

“We haven’t started the site itself,” said Hoorn. “We need to pre-reserve 70 percent of what we’re building before we can begin construction.”

Prior to the marketing campaign that kicked off last month, Waterford already had 21 apartments reserved, still a far cry from the 70 percent mark of 139.

Those reservations came from an exclusive group Hoorn referred to as the “priority wait list.”

“We’ve been working with them over the winter months,” she said. “They’ve given us a lot of input toward amenities and features (and) helped define the character of the community to where it is today.”

As part of that group, the early reservation holders were given a sneak peak at floor plans and introductory rates in April.

Last month, Sunset kicked off the pre-sale program. It sent out 17,000 mailers and began a print advertising campaign.

“It’s generated a lot of interest,” Hoorn said.

Featuring a streetscape design, the 700- to 1,200-square-foot apartments will connect to a large community center meant to create a downtown atmosphere. On this “Main Street” will be found a bank, beauty shop, café, general store, wellness center, library and other amenities.

Plans also include a 150-car covered parking structure and the lake.

The majority of the dwellings will be independent apartments, both one- and two-bedrooms and one- and two-bedrooms with dens, along with 48 assisted living units.

The project will be built in two phases. The first will begin once that 70 percent plateau has been reached, and include 196 independent living apartments and the town square amenities.

Phase II will include the 48 assisted living beds and an undetermined number of independent living units. A market analysis will be conducted at that time to determine the sufficient number of units.

The assisted living portion of Phase II will begin immediately following the completion of Phase I.

Phase I should break ground a year from now and take 12 to 18 months to build.

This is Sunset’s third facility, adding to its Sunset Manor & Village in Jenison and the Brookcrest skilled nursing facility in Grandville.

“This gives us an opportunity to meet the demand that we’ve had for housing,” Sunset COO John Thorhauer said of Waterford Place prior to its approval last fall. “We’ve got a waiting list that is extremely significant and we just don’t have the ability to accommodate everyone. It was decided that we needed to do this in order to meet our mission.”

Sunset’s waiting list is currently 600 people long. Most of those have opted to wait for an opening in one of the existing facilities.

“Many of them are attached to the other facility,” said Hoorn. “They have friends there, family there; it’s what they know and love.

“Waterford was designed to help alleviate some of that wait list,” she said. “It’s a new community, so they’ll get in quicker than at Sunset.”

“Based on our demand currently, we will probably be ready to start another one as soon as Waterford is complete,” Thorhauer told the Business Journal. “That’s if our current demand continues.

“There has been a great deal of development in this market recently, and there is going to be a saturation point, but we feel it’s significantly higher than what the market is currently.”

The Christman Co., in partnership with Elzinga & Volkers Inc., has been contracted as construction manager of the project. Richard Kiley of Columbus, Ohio-based Dorsky Hodgson and Partners designed the development.    

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