Olde York Square on track for 2014 groundbreaking

news@enquirerherald.comSeptember 19, 2013 

— The developer of a 52-acre mixed-use senior living campus in York said the project is finishing a second marketing study and he plans to wrap up arrangements for financing later this year.

Chris Sinz, president of CDS Development Company, said he hopes construction can begin on the $44 million Olde York Square in February or March on the site at the northwest corner of S.C. 5 and Alexander Love Highway.

However, he acknowledged that the project has faced years of delays.

Sinz, who gave an update on the project to the York City Council earlier this month, said a second marketing study was required before bonds could be issued because it had been two years since the last study.

“We have actually been working six years on this thing,” said Sinz, who was asked by the York council to return in December and provide another update. “It took me a while to get the funding in place.”

York Mayor Eddie Lee said there’s a lot of interest from neighbors, who have showed up at several meetings to give input. “It was a major project at one time, and we want to see it through to its conclusion,” Lee said.

Sinz said he expects to know within about a month if the financing can close in February or March. If that’s the case, he said, “then we’ll go ahead and start scheduling the construction.”

He also said they will begin marketing the project to seniors.

Olde York Square was first proposed in 2008 as an upscale community of single-family homes and businesses such as banks, a grocery store, drug store, eateries and a coffee shop.

A couple years later, after the economy collapsed, the project was completely redesigned and transformed into an age-restricted community that would have homes, apartments, assisted living beds and rooms for Alzheimer’s disease patients, as well as commercial parcels.

The project in March received a third approval from the York City Council after further changes that included a request by Sinz for greater flexibility in the use of the commercial parcels.

Sinz asked that a gas station, a pet care facility and a small bowling alley be included among possible commercial uses to serve the 400 seniors who would be living on the campus. Some neighbors objected, voicing fears about noise, traffic and the environmental impact.

Council members approved the changes with two caveats, limiting the size of a possible gas station at the site to not more than two acres and requiring Sinz to report back on the project at intervals.

The approved plan for senior living calls for 75 patio homes; 156 one- and two-bedroom independent and assisted living apartments; five free-standing assisted living buildings, each with 12 to 16 beds; and 20 memory care rooms for Alzheimer’s patients.

Sinz said the development would be largely restricted to people ages 55 and older, with just 10 percent to 20 percent open to others. He said some of the younger inhabitants might include people with disabilities such as Down syndrome, who need assisted living care.

Sinz said that under the conditions of the financing, the apartments and other housing units would be leased to seniors on a month-to-month basis rather than being sold. There would be no entrance fee, he said.

He said he receives inquiries about the project on a regular basis. “Every month, we get inquiries. There’s a lot of seniors who need a quality place to live,” he said. “Our timing now is perfect.”

Sinz’s partners include Myra Strickland, an Allen Tate real estate broker in York County, and Joe Roche, president of Massachusetts-based Momentum Senior Living Group, which would market and manage the facility.

Construction is expected to take nine months to a year, Sinz said. If the work begins in the first quarter of next year, he said, residents could begin moving in late 2014 or early 2015.

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