Shawnee council gives green light to rezoning for proposed $15 million, 132-unit senior living development

A rendering of the proposed senior living facility.
A rendering of the proposed senior living facility.

By Jerry LaMartina

The Shawnee City Council on Monday night unanimously approved a rezoning request and a preliminary development plan for a proposed $15 million, 132-unit senior independent living housing development called Calamar Willow Ridge in the 7200 block of Silverheel Street.

The developer, Calamar Enterprises, proposes to build the 150,282-square-foot, three-story building on a 6.93-acre lot, according to the project’s preliminary plan filed with the city.

The independent living, age-restricted senior apartment building would include a mix of market-rate units: one-bedroom, two bedrooms with one bathroom, and two-bedrooms with one and a half bathrooms. Rents would range from about $950 to about $1,250, said Jerry Hill, Calamar’s director of development for the Midwest region.

The units would range from 638 square feet to 889 square feet. Each unit would have appliances, including a washer and dryer; a kitchen pantry; big closets; individually controlled HVAC systems; and a personal patio or balcony.

The council approved the rezoning request and the preliminary development plan without discussion. Hill said before the council meeting that the company was seeking standard excise tax abatement for the project.

The company expects to start construction soon, after obtaining all necessary approvals, and complete the project by late 2018.

Hill said at the Shawnee Planning Commission’s Oct. 2 meeting that Calamar Willow Ridge would also have a variety of common areas, mostly on the ground floor and including a theater, chapel, education room and lounge. The ground-floor rooms would be built to also serve as a storm shelter in the absence of a basement.

At its Oct. 2 meeting, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended that the council approve the rezoning request and the preliminary development plan for the project. According to the meeting’s minutes, the property had been identified since 2011 as a potential location for multifamily development, despite that the city’s land-use guide, part of its comprehensive plan, had categorized it as appropriate for office and commercial uses.

Earlier versions of the land-use guide had said the site was appropriate for high-density residential use.

“This designation was to provide a transitioning buffer between the highway and the medium and low-density residential uses to the east,” according to the Oct. 2 meeting’s minutes. “However, in an effort to assist the City achieve the goal of having 35% of the assessed value of the community being from commercial, office and industrial properties, many areas were changed over the years from high density residential to office and commercial designations.”

The city recently revised its comprehensive plan to increase allowed density for senior living facilities. It defines medium-density residential as 5.01 to 10 dwelling units per acre. A senior living facility may have a density as high as 21.78 dwelling units per acre. As proposed, Calamar Willow Ridge would have 17.5 dwelling units per acre.

“This location provides a good transition between K-7 Highway and the less dense multi-family residential uses within the Willow Ridge subdivision to the east,” according to the meeting’s minutes.

Calamar is a real estate company with construction, development, property management and finance and investment divisions for commercial and large-scale residential properties in the Northeast and Midwest. The company is based in Wheatfield, N.Y., and has offices in Omaha; Boston; Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario; and Toronto.

The project site plan.
The project site plan.