Gainesville is getting a new memory-care and assisted-living facility.
Development on the 4-acre lot at 2002 NW 13th St. will include the renovation of a vacant four-story building. It will be transformed into a 135-bed assisted-living facility named Gainesville Alz Inn, said Ravi Alure, president of Brandon, Florida-based Aspire Engineering, the developer. A separate two-story, 39,824 square-foot building will be constructed next to it for physical therapy and doctor visits, he said.
“This brings … jobs into the community,” Alure said after the Gainesville Development Review Board’s meeting Tuesday evening.
The development review board members approved a proposal for the development by a 3-1 vote at City Hall.
Board Chair Debra-Neil Mareci said the proposals seemed to be in line with the city’s land-use codes.
“This project is actually superb for that location,” she said.
Mareci told area residents in attendance Tuesday the development should have minimal impact on their living situation and will project very little noise.
Though residents agreed the facility’s services could benefit the community, they expressed concern over the urban forest on the site that will be used as a catch basin for storm water and the removal of trees.
The revised water-drainage system is needed because contaminated water is flowing into Hoggetowne Creek from a pipe fed by a hole in the parking lot, said Lawrence Calderon, a staff liaison for the Gainesville City Board of Adjustment.
As it stands, there are about 90 trees in the urban forest, Calderon said. The soon-to-be basin — located on the west side of the property — is one-third of an acre and borders 13th Street.
“I just ask that you protect the natural space that we have in Gainesville because that is what makes our town so special,” Gainesville resident Trish Riley said to the board.
While the catch basin will not be bare, tree removal will make the basin more accessible if maintenance is required and ensure even grass growth, said Andrew Roberts, a Gainesville Public Works engineer. A criteria written in the code requires basins have to have a tree every 35 feet, he said.
“There is minimal water quality being done there now,” Roberts said.
The basin will have underdrains put in to help draw water down through the soil. Once water starts to discharge out of the basin after a storm, it will empty at the same rate as it would in pre-developed conditions, Roberts said.
Although the proposal is an improvement over the current stormwater drainage system, city codes should be modified to preserve urban forests, Gainesville resident Lynn Dirk said.
The urban forest is a “showcase of sustainability for Gainesville,” Dirk said.
Riley lives down the street from the site. She said she would like to see the city move to more sustainable land-use codes, but she’s also worried that the site could decrease property values of nearby homes.
“I just want to make sure that if we have to take on increased liability,” she said, “that the city would be behind us while approving this type of development.”
Next, the developer will resubmit plans that address conditions the development review board staff set, said Gainesville City Commission communications manager Bob Woods. The applicant has also agreed to meet with the neighborhood group to discuss how a garden adjacent to a residential area will be used, he said.