- Lawrence Budd Staff Writer
Next year, a $13 million face-lift of the building at the center of Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices’ main campus in Warren County and construction on the first phase of Otterbein’s Union Village planned community are to begin.
On the west side of Ohio 741, Otterbein is expected to begin renovation of the campus center building, a two-phase project expected to leave it with a new facade and entrance, landscaping and signs, as well as new, private assisted-living homes.
“Because we are renovating an entire building, the plan is to move office personnel and some residents as we renovate half, then move residents into the new rooms as we renovate the other half,” said Gary Horning, Otterbein’s vice president for marketing and communications.
On the east side of Ohio 741, across from the main campus, work is to commence on the roads and infrastructure for the downtown center and first residential phase of Union Village, planned to grow to a 4,500-home community.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Union Village developer, hired by Otterbein, have worked out plans for right-of-way needed for turn lanes into the planned community, according to state transportation officials.
Work on the roads and infrastructure should begin early next year, construction on Otterbein’s new headquarters on the square of Union Village’s downtown center in September.
“We’re working on financing right now,” J. Christopher Green, vice president of finance and chief financial officer for Otterbein, said during a Dec. 19 public hearing in Lebanon. “It’s really a separate project from our main mission.”
After the public hearing, the Warren County Board of Commissioners approved issuance of up to $16 million in bonds on behalf of Otterbein to finance the campus center project, west of Lebanon in Turtlecreek Twp., and construction of 16 patio homes for independent seniors already under construction in St. Marys, Auglaize County, Ohio.
Otterbein, a non-profit corporation, and a limited liability corporation set up for the St. Marys project, are obligated to repay over 30 years those holding the Ohio Healthcare Facilities Revenue Bonds issued to finance the projects.
The Warren County portion financed through the bonds would include “the renovation and repurposing of the Campus Center Building, including the skilled nursing facility,” according to a resolution authorizing the bonds’ issuance.
The project is to happen in two phases in 2018 and 2019.
It is part of a multi-year plan through which Otterbein also plans to move the entrance to King Street on the north end of the campus. It has already added a life enrichment center, fitness center, media center, cafe, wood shop, salon, art studio, 114 apartments and 27 ranch homes.
Still ahead are improvements to the rehabilitation center and other facilities on the 200-acre retirement campus.
The development of Union Village, on more than 1,200 acres next to the campus and across Ohio 741, is expected to take 20 to 30 years.
In 2019, Otterbein hopes to move into its new headquarters, anchoring Union Village’s downtown center, Green said during the public hearing.
Union Village’s first phase also includes 89 homes, four apartment buildings with up to 12 units each and seven town homes, as well as 12 multi-use lots for restaurants and retail on 30.3 acres.
In addition, the $16 million Warren County Sports Park at Union Village, a 109-acre sports complex off Ohio 741 and Greentree Road, is expected to be built and possibly open next year.
The sports complex - and retirement campus - will be part of the 1,400-acre multigenerational community known as Union Village.