Anyone who went to the future location of Thrive Senior Living off Virgil Langford Road over the weekend in response to a news release issued last week by the company would have been surprised by what they didn’t find.
“Atlanta-based Thrive Senior Living has broken ground this week at The Village at Athens, an innovate new Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Athens, GA,” the news release on PRWeb stated, complete with the typing error for “innovative.”
|Future Home Of Thrive|
B.R. White, director of the Oconee County Planning and Code Enforcement Department, said on Friday that no building permits had been issued for the project, though the developer could beginning clearing the lot based on the approved site plans.
Chris Thomas, director of the county’s utility department, told me that same day that, “as far as I know,” Thrive has not contacted the county about getting water and sewer services or an assessment of the county’s ability to handle the sewage from the site.
Thrive needs to pay connect fees to get the building permits.
Sewage An Issue
The issue of sewage capacity came up when the county rezoned the property for Resurgence Park, where the Thrive facility will be located, in August of 2013.
The county is not certain that its pump station on Barber Creek at Mars Hill Road will be able to handle the extra effluent from the park, and any property owner that needs that capacity will have to pay for the upgrades.
Such an assessment of the ability of the county facilities to handle the sewage of Thrive “has not been done at this time,” Thomas said on Friday.
Thomas said the county is considering some upgrades to the pump station on its own, and it could be that these upgrades will handle the new flow from Thrive. But those upgrades have not yet been made.
Also Need Gas Line
Thrive also is in need of a natural gas line, which the Public Service Commission of Georgia is funding to assist the project and others along Virgil Langford Road.
On Saturday, there were stacks of pipe on Jennings Mill Road as it dead ends at SR315, near the future site of Thrive, and also at the other end of Virgil Langford Road south of SR 316, but no sign of actual trenching for a gas line.
The gas pipeline will be run under SR 316 to reach the island of land created by SR 316, SR Loop 10 and the Oconee Connector, where Thrive is to be located.
Construction on the building isn’t dependent on the gas line, but the gas line was funded for Thrive and other projects in the Resurgence business park as well as for other development along Virgil Langford Road west of Resurgence.
The Oconee Enterprise used a story in its July 24 edition based on the Thrive news release, claiming that the Atlanta-based company broke ground on the project.
Classic City Today, the local Cox news site, also carried a story based on the Thrive news release, claiming that “the company broke ground recently on the project.”
Both stories contained the “rendering” Thrive used with the news release to show what the new facility will look like.
Neither mentioned the pipeline, the sewer issue, or the lack of a building permit.
Change In Plans
Neither the news release nor the stories based on it discussed the apparent change in the project from what was originally proposed.
The site plans with the county show a 48,279-square-foot-building on the 4.9-acre site. Access is to be from Resurgence Drive, the new roadway through the business park.
Previously announced plans had been for an 85-bed assisted living facility on the site, which would include a dementia unit.
According to the news release, Thrive now plans a “completely separate and dedicated Memory Care neighborhood” that will provide a “quality experience to residents with dementia, in a secure environment.”
If this is to be in a separate building from the single building shown on the preliminary site plans, White told me, Thrive will have to come back to the county with plans showing those separate buildings before it can get building permits.
The news release says that the new project will consist of 70 units.
News Release Promotion
The real thrust of the news release, reflected in the stories in the Enterprise and on Class City Today, is that the facility being proposed is very upscale.
According to the news release, Thrive will offer “luxuriously appointed resident apartments, a spa, beauty salon, fitness center, doctors office, movie theater, multiple courtyards featuring outdoor fireplaces, and much more.”
The news release further states that the facility will have “interior finishes” that “will defy the traditional look and feel of most senior living communities, featuring warm tones, stone, wood, and granite surfaces in a lodge-like environment.”
The project is a “joint venture” of Thrive, Paragon Real Estate, a Chicago-based developer, and Summit Healthcare REIT, an Irvine, Calif., real estate investment trust specializing in healthcare properties, according to the release.
The news release further says the “Village of Athens is located on the east side of Athens, near the intersection of Highway 316 and the Oconee Connector.”
The writer apparently doesn’t know much about Oconee County or where it is located relative to Athens.