In Rogers, yet another assisted living facility being proposed

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 14 views 

The Rogers Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at its next meeting for an 85,000-square-foot assisted living development near the front gate of Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers.

The Blake at Rogers, a high-end development being proposed by Mississippi-based Cardinal Ventures Inc., would add to an already competitive assisted living market in Rogers, where four facilities totaling $65 million in construction are in various stages of development. Together, the four properties bring 426 new units to the assisted living inventory in Benton County, which will nearly double the amount of inventory.

 “We believe that market has been underserved for some time, so a lot of the new competition and new product that is coming to the market is still within the parameters for the need that we see,” said Harrison Young, an architect and a principal of Cardinal Ventures. “We think there is enough demand to support our project, in addition to these other projects.”

Rogers city planners are scheduled to meet Tuesday (Dec. 6) at 4:30 p.m.

The Blake at Rogers will create 65 full-time jobs, Young said, and is proposed to have 100 units, 25 deemed as independent living. The remainder will be a mixture of assisted living and memory care.

Besides approval from the city of Rogers, Cardinal Ventures also needs approval from state health officials to build the facility. Young said the company has already sent a certificate of need (CON) application to the Arkansas Health Services Permit Agency, which will make a decision on the Blake at Rogers proposal on or before January 22, 2017.

Capital cost for construction, according to the application, is $12.2 million.

“Assuming we are successful, we’ll move pretty swiftly once we receive that [approval],” Young said. “But until we can confirm that we can in fact receive the beds through the CON process, we’ll be methodical. We won’t put the cart before the horse.”

Cardinal Ventures has developed or has under construction 1,042 senior living units in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina. In fact, the company has three developments in South Carolina under construction. The first will be open within the next two months, Young said. Blake Management Group, an affiliate of Cardinal Ventures that will manage the Rogers property, has 1,567 units under management.

“In most markets we pursue in the Southeast, we’re looking for growing markets and Rogers fits that profile,” Young said. “We identify nice mixed-use neighborhoods we can be a part of, on the fringe of a nice residential area, and this site is among the best we’ve found.”

The 3.5-acre site for the Blake at Rogers is at 4211 S. Champions Drive, just south of the primary entrance to the gated Pinnacle Country Club neighborhood. The land belongs to Devereux 1601 LLC, managed by Dewitt Smith III, president and CEO of real estate investment and operating firm Devereux Management Co. of Rogers.

Devereux only recently took ownership of the property, closing a deal Nov. 2 to buy the land from Mikki Marugg Bates of Tulsa, Okla., in an all-equity purchase of $793,900. His plan was to develop a 40,000-square-foot office building at the site.

Young, though, says Cardinal Ventures now has the property under contract, contingent upon receiving the necessary approvals and licensing from city and state organizations. He said the land deal isn’t expected to close until the second quarter of 2017.

Smith said the prospect of selling the property so soon after buying it came “out of the blue.”

“Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time, and I have the gray hair to prove it,” he joked. “I am not a speculative investor, but this has to fall into that category. And that is a statement in support of the U.S. economy first, and Northwest Arkansas most dramatically. I don’t think we lose no matter what happens.”

Pat Morrison, a broker with Colliers International in Rogers, was the listing agent for the property when it sold to Smith’s Devereux 1601 LLC, and was leading the pre-leasing efforts for the office building. He said he is still marketing the building to potential tenants, noting Cardinal Ventures has “a long way to go” in its approval process to bring an assisted living facility out of the ground.

In other words, like Young, he isn’t putting his cart before the horse, either.

“We certainly want [Cardinal Ventures] to be successful in that venture,” he said. “But our plan is still to build. If it happens at this location, great. If it doesn’t, we are looking elsewhere.” 

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