ROME – The City Planning Board gave a negative statement on the Site Environmental Quality Review and site plan approval for Nascentia Health to build 55 apartments for seniors on the former Beeches Inn & Conference Center campus on Turin Street during a meeting of especially on Tuesday.
During the Nov. 1 Planning Board meeting, the state-required SEQR and site plan were put on hold because Nascentia was awaiting feedback on the proposed project from the state Department of Transportation.
The plans consist of the redevelopment of the hotel part of the former Beeches campus and a two-storey extension. The current addition to the rear of the building would be demolished to make way for the planned building and other additions, as well as parking. A total of 55 units will be built at 7900 Torino Street – 15 within the existing structure and 40 within the proposed addition.
Michael Malda, project manager with Holmes King Kallquist & Associates Architects, Syracuse, explained that the plan involves renovating the existing hospice for 55 one-bedroom units to provide “affordable” housing for seniors. The front of the existing inn will remain in place, with part of the rear being removed and refurbished along with a building addition.
The project will also include a community room, a wellness room (exercise facility), office space for on-site property management and maintenance, a computer lab and on-site laundry facilities.
Outdoor amenities include walking paths, connecting sidewalks, adequate lighting, outdoor patios, benches and seating, bicycle parking, 88 car parking spaces, including wheelchair units and electric car charging stations. Housekeeping, food, health care services and transportation will be available at a fee for each service.
The site plan review says the project will use a model called “aging in place.” The aim is to address the social determinants of health so that older people can be ‘denied in place’ and not need to move to a higher level of care.
Anticipated funding sources for the project include low-income housing tax credits, older housing funds from the state’s Homes and Community Renewal, HUD 202 Funds, historic tax credits and private financing from Nascentia.
Malda said the grounds will be maintained by Nascentia employees and staff and that the parking area will include a fire lane and maneuvering space for any potential emergency response.
In accordance with State Historic Preservation Office requirements, the building’s original facade will remain unchanged and the ponds will remain “intact,” Malda said. There will also be no runoff into ponds.
The new structure will be approximately 62,000 square feet and will include an entire second floor. A caretaker’s cottage from the original estate will remain and is not part of the project. The existing front of the building will look like it does today, but will be cleaned and repainted, Malda added.
The application for funding for the project is due on December 6 and the review period should last until March. Malda expects to hear from Homes and Community Renewal in mid-March or early April if the project has been approved for funding.
A negative statement and site plan approval were recommended by the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development, and both were unanimously approved by the board.