Assisted senior living facility to open in 2018




If everything goes according to plan, at least 140 Key West seniors will be able to move into an assisted living housing facility in the spring of 2018.

That was the good news delivered to Key West City Commissioners June 7 by Manuel Castillo, Jr., executive director of the Key West Housing Authority. Tasked by the commission back in 2013 to develop and build a housing complex specifically for low and moderate income senior citizens who need assistance with meals, housekeeping and non-major health issues, Castillo will be back before the commission at its next meeting for its approval of the final master development plan.

“As soon as we receive those, we will go into the permitting process and hopefully do a ground-breaking in August of this year,” he said. “The construction will take approximately 20 months. We are at the finale, or at least the end of the planning process.”

The new building will be built at Poinciana Plaza, located at Duck Avenue and 17th Street. The three-story structure will replace an existing, four-unit apartment building on the property and will provide 108 apartments for an estimated 140 people. The first two floors will have 60 apartments for more independent seniors, with the third floor offering 48 units with assisted living services, which include more care and supervision for residents.

In addition, the new facility will have a “respite care” program, where 25 non-resident seniors can receive daycare during the day.

“That is for families who have senior members at home that don’t want to leave them alone at home. We will take care of them there, feed them and so forth and in the afternoons be picked up to be with the family,” Castillo said.

The size of the independent and assisted apartment will range from 275 square feet for a studio apartment to 675 square feet for a two-bedroom unit. Rents will range from $450 to $2,300 per month for the independent apartments but additional fees and services could boost those rent figures to $750 to $4,000 per month for the assisted living units.

“That’s been the heartburn from day one,” Castillo said, referring to the high anticipated rents. “That seems like a lot of money but that compares with about $6,000 when you get on the mainland for that type of service.”

Commissioner Richard Payne was also concerned about the rent figures but from another angle. Some moderate income residents may make too much money to qualify for the new facility, he said

“What happens here in the city is anyone that has a moderate income level is not going to qualify for assisted living here. They have to move away,” Payne observed.

“There is no doubt there is that unmet need… We’re all acutely aware there is still that small portion of unmet need in this community,” Castillo said.

There will be an on-site dining room for residents as well as a doctor’s office, plus 37 off-street parking spaces. The total cost of the project is estimated at $21.5 million

“The proposed facility will contain supportive spaces including guest and resident vestibules and lobbies, administrative offices, a commercial kitchen with two dining rooms. A first floor non-resident respite care facility is also proposed with a minimum of twenty-five non-residents per day. Additional proposed services include a visiting doctor’s office, arts and craft areas, activity and lounge rooms, a therapy room as well as an exterior courtyard and community garden,” wrote Patrick Wright, a planner in the city planning department in a memo describing his department’s recommendation that the project be approved by the planning board in April. The planning board voted unanimously to approve the plans.

The facility will be managed by Key West Senior Development, a non-profit company owned by American House Senior Living Communities, which operates more than 50 senior housing complexes in Michigan, Illinois and Florida.

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