Lee’s Summit approves rezoning and new assisted-living apartment building at John Knox Village

rpulley@lsjournal.comJuly 31, 2013 

John Knox Village will build a new 25-apartment assisted-living facility as part of $8 million of renovations underway and future planning for updates of the retirement community.

JKV, which is east of Pryor and Chipman road intersection, is one of the city’s largest employers and a prominent neighborhood in Lee’s Summit. It is a mix of skilled-nursing facilities, single-family houses, attached housing and apartments.

The City Council on July 25 approved the project and also rezoning of the 137-acre campus.

The $3.3 million, assisted-living facility will be Modern Craftsman architecture.

Rodney McBride, vice president of health and community services, said JKV had torn down some outdated duplexes and cottages at 1701 O’Brien Road. It will replace them with the new facility.

JKV already has two assisted-living facilities, which opened in 2006 and 2012 but they are specialized for memory care. They have been 100-percent occupied since opening.

The new facility will be targeted to a more general population, McBride said.

McBride said the typical resident is someone who doesn’t need to be in a skilled-nursing facility, but needs some extra help with cooking meals or taking medication. It will be licensed for 50 residents.

“We wanted to get it licensed so if there’s a need for couples, we could accommodate them,” said McBride said.

Each apartment will have a kitchenette, but not a stove; there will be a communal dining room.

McBride said the concept is to create a homelike atmosphere and a small-community feel.

Housekeeping is provided, along with nursing staff to help with necessities such as medications or baths and activities for entertainment. The new facility will provide about 25 jobs.

The rezoning to PMIX is to facilitate future development of a master plan now being worked on by Greystone, an Irving, Texas firm that specializes in developing, re-developing and expanding retirement communities.

The city had previously been using special-use permits to allow multiple land uses in JKV, some of which had expired, said Bob McKay, director of community development.

McKay told the council the best way to clean up the situation was to rezone the area so multiple special-use permits won’t be necessary.

When John Knox Village goes forward with any new development under its pending master plan, the city would require additional public hearings for areas, McKay said.

There is other construction underway at JKV that is expected to be open in early 2014.

At The Villager, a central apartment building on the campus, JKV is combining some smaller apartments into single units with upgraded features for cabinets and granite counter tops, said Billy Hammerly, director of operations and development.

“To make them modern, more up-to-date homes,” he said.

It also has demolished some older buildings to add another $2.2 million, 17-apartment building, also in Modern Craftsman style, Hammerly said.

McBride said the new projects and the master plan are part of preparations for the first wave of Baby Boomers that expected to hit retirement communities in 2020, reaching age of 75 years, at a rate of 10,000 a day.

Those newer residents likely will be demanding slightly roomier apartments than were wanted when JKV was built in the 1970s, McBride said.

They’ll have different expectations for expanded “wellness” facilities, both mental and physical

“We’re really starting to prepare ourselves for that new customer as well,” McBride said.

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