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BMG with CR Properties, Cardinal Ventures Break Ground on 213-Unit Community in Louisiana

BMG with CR Properties, Cardinal Ventures Break Ground on 213-Unit Community in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. — A joint venture between CR Properties and Cardinal Ventures has broken ground on The Blake at The Grove, a 213-unit independent living, assisted living and memory care community in Louisiana’s state capital.

The community will be located within Grove, a 118-acre mixed-use development, giving residents pedestrian access to shops, restaurants, hotels, medical services and an eight-mile multi-use trail.

When completed, The Blake at The Grove will feature 111 units of independent living, 67 units of assisted living and 35 units of memory care. Blake Management Group will operate the community.

The Blake at The Grove is expected to open in the summer of 2017. A sales office will open on site in the fall of 2016.

CR Properties and Cardinal Ventures are both real estate developers based in Mississippi.

This article originally appeared at seniorshousingliving.com

Jolie’s chef developing culinary plan for new biz

Jolie's chef developing culinary plan for new biz

The former executive chef of Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro is now developing the dining services for a new luxury senior living facility.

Gregory Doucet was contacted by the executive director of The Blake at Lafayette just after the public announcement that Jolie’s would close its doors forever on Valentine’s Day.

“It just seemed like the best opportunity and one that’s going to be a little different than what I’m used to,” Doucet says. “It’s a chance to grow. I’m ready to get started, see what I can do, see how far we can go with this.”

The Blake won’t offer the typical scoop-and-serve cuisine you might expect from an assisted living and nursing home facility. Instead, The Blake at Lafayette, which is on track to open in May, is focusing on restaurant-style dining services and culinary experiences rooted in culture.

“We’re like the cruise ship that never leaves the dock,” says Susan Begnaud, executive director of The Blake. “We want to offer activities, dining experiences and things that embrace the culture of Lafayette. That’s the reason we’ve hired Greg to be our director of culinary services.”

Doucet, 27, started at Jolie’s as a line cook in 2009 and worked his way up to executive chef in 2013 before the restaurant closed.

Time spent in the kitchen at Jolie’s helped Doucet realize he didn’t want to continue studying business at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette but instead culinary arts at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University. Doucet earned his bachelor’s in culinary arts in 2012 from the program.

“One of the things I really liked when interviewing Greg is that his food is about pleasing people,” Begnaud says. “And I think that’s a really strong statement when you’re talking about an executive chef in a facility like ours…He wants to really please people with his food.”

“That’s what the hospitality industry is all about,” Doucet chimes in. “And if you’re a chef and you’re not doing that, then you’re just lying to yourself.”

What is the most people-pleasing food you can make?

“Around here, you can’t go wrong with a gumbo or a jambalaya, basically anything you can cook in a big pot outside and just kind of talk and hang out while eating together,” Doucet says.

That’s why The Blake plans to offer boiled crawfish in the courtyard on Fridays during Lent and other communal dining experiences in addition to the regular restaurant-style dining and coffee and ice cream shop.

Doucet is still developing menu ideas for The Blake’s dining services, which will include daily breakfast, lunch and dinner specials with 10 to 12 rotating a la carte options per meal.

“What’s intriguing about this is that it’s not just day-in, day-out the same old thing,” he says. “I’m sure there will be some dietary restrictions, but I want to keep things as creative and imaginative as possible. If you had to eat at the same place every single day, it would get boring. I want to keep it fun and moving.”

Some of Jolie’s most familiar menu items might even make an appearance now and then, according to Doucet.

“It’s nice because I can be face-to-face with the clients and ask them what they want,” he says. “I’m looking forward to getting on a friendly basis with all of these residents and just playing off of what they want.”

The senior living community can accommodate about 130 residents. The Blake’s monthly room rental, which starts at $2,500, includes high-end furnishings and finishes, chef-prepared meals, maintenance, transportation, events and other amenities.

“It’s very much like the style you’d find in the River Ranch community,” Begnaud says. “But our pricing is comparable to most assisted living facilities across the state. We just offer that unique experience.”

Nine locations of The Blake are currently or soon-to-be operating in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina.

Begnaud expects four to five locations of The Blake in Louisiana by the end of 2017. In addition to Lafayette, communities are planned for Baton Rouge, Bossier City and Thibodaux.

The Blake at Lafayette will be located at 400 Polly Lane. Learn more about retirement, assisted living and memory care options by visiting blakeliving.com or calling 337-993-8898.

Originally published by The Advertiser, Photo by Scott Clause/The Advertiser

Now under construction in the Capital Region: Not your usual senior housing

With a booming economy and employment in the Baton Rouge area at an all-time high, residential construction in the region has soared, with the number of new residential building permits reflecting the demand for new housing in the area.

Yet, while attention focuses on housing for a growing workforce, construction and development are also booming for another category of resident: seniors. In particular, several high-end developments are in the works in the Baton Rouge market, reflecting a national trend to provide residences tailored to the aging baby boomer market.

With wine lockers, gaming centers and art studios, these aren’t your typical independent and assisted living facilities for seniors.

“Nationally, as everyone knows, there’s a significant aging population, which is one reason a lot of markets are seeing a big push for senior-living developments,” says Harrison Young, owner of Cardinal Ventures, which is co-developing The Blake at The Grove with CR Properties. “Coupled with that, the baby boom generation has a lot of wealth and high expectations. With this need and demand, the national trend is to bring new, nicer projects to the market.”

About 80% of residents in these new developments will come from the Baton Rouge region. However, some will move to the area from other parts of the country as their adult children who live and work in Baton Rouge want their aging parents and other family members to be closer to them.

Much of the existing inventory of senior housing was built 20 to 25 years ago and is starting to show its age, says Steve Hicks, chairman and CEO of Provident Resources Group, which is developing Provident Village at Americana in Zachary.

“More facilities are being added because the existing inventory is outdated and does not meet the demands of today’s consumer of senior living services,” Hicks says. “East Baton Rouge Parish post-Katrina has had a huge growth in population relative to where we should be had greater New Orleans not have been devastated by Katrina. The entire I-10/I-12 corridor is a huge-growth area, and that growth is at all levels of income and across all different age groups. Just as demand for other services has risen, the demand for quality senior care has risen. ”

The higher-end, upscale developments reflect baby boomers’ attitudes, expectations and lifestyles. For example, baby boomers tend to be more active than their parents, so they want health and fitness to feature in any residential development targeting them—even in their golden years.

Often it is the adult children—and not the seniors themselves—making the decision about where their parents will live. So senior living developments must meet those decision makers’ expectations, as well.

“The first thing everyone is concerned with is getting the right quality of care,” says Kathryn Juneau, a Baton Rouge-based Realtor who represents Avanti, the company developing Avanti at Highland. “When they’re making decisions, the adult children are then also looking for the types of amenities that they would like. They want the best for their parents.”

Senior living developments typically offer some combination of units for independent, assisted care and memory care living, providing a continuum of care for residents. Independent units are designed for senior residents who have an active lifestyle but want to downsize or simplify. Meanwhile, assisted-living units are for residents who need more hands-on personal care. Residents with memory impairment issues, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, live in the memory care units, which are usually located in a secure building.

Four projects in development in the greater Baton Rouge area include The Blake at The Grove, Garden View at Jones Creek, Provident Village at Americana and Avanti at Highland. While similarities among the developments exist, the differences across developments reflect the complex, nuanced expectations that seniors have developed over their lifetimes.

The Blake at The Grove

Location: Off Interstate 10 adjacent to the Mall of Louisiana

Number of units: 213, including 111 independent, 67 assisted living and 37 memory care

Time frame: Construction set to start this fall, with a target opening date of early 2017

When Mississippi-based Cardinal Ventures and CR Properties were considering where to develop a senior-living project, they looked no further than Baton Rouge. They ultimately chose to locate the 235,000-square-foot development at The Grove, a traditional neighborhood development off Interstate 10 adjacent to the Mall of Louisiana.

“We picked The Grove because of its location in Baton Rouge,” says CR Properties Rob Tatum, who has experience building multifamily developments in Baton Rouge post-Katrina. “We liked that the site is adjacent to The High Grove apartment complex, well-positioned near the Interstate and a linear park, and the presence of high-end development there. Choosing the Baton Rouge market really was a no-brainer.”

Harrison Young, owner of Cardinal Ventures, says setting up shop in an existing TND also appealed to them. “We like to be near vibrant, mixed-use, walkable projects,” he says. “The higher density among mixed-use helps keep our residents active and young.” The demand for upscale, resort-style senior living “speaks to the growth and affluence of Baton Rouge, and particularly this area of Baton Rouge,” Young adds. The development will be managed by Blake Management Group, which also will operate The Blake at Lafayette when it opens in 2016, as well as CR Properties’ The Claiborne at Thibodaux, a retirement community that will also open in the first quarter of 2016.

Residents at The Blake at The Grove will have access to amenities ranging from a salon and spa to on-site restaurants and bistros serving chef-prepared meals. Residents in assisted-care and memory-care units will have three meals a day in the restaurants, while those in the independent-living units will have the option to eat in the restaurants or on their own, if they prefer.

Tatum says a common mistake made with some senior-living developments is approaching them like any other multifamily housing project.

“In a traditional mixed-use development, the housing is built for people who go to work and aren’t home for much of the day,” he says. “We’re providing a community for seniors, which requires a lot more thought. It’s important to think through the life of a senior and pay attention to their unique needs. We’re very conscious of what we put into the property, and we plan out how it fits into the wider community. The expectations of today are different—you have to provide a lifestyle that people are used to. I had a real estate professor who said, ‘Never build something you wouldn’t live in yourself,’ and that’s how we approach it. When you care that much, it resonates.”

Full article originally published by Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

The Grove to include new upscale senior living facility

A Mississippi-based company is planning an upscale senior living development on 8.5 acres within The Grove, Richard Carmouche’s planned unit development located just off Interstate 10 behind the Mall of Louisiana.

The Blake at The Grove, as the development will be called, will consist of 213 units of independent living, assisted living and memory care. It will also include a community center, pool and fitness center, and maintenance building with associated parking. Cardinal Ventures of Richland is developing the project and filed a final development plan earlier today with the local Planning Commission.

The commercial and residential development within The Grove—which so far includes a completed mixed-use development called The High Grove and has a second, mixed-use development called The Addison under construction—was a big draw for Cardinal Ventures, according to company Vice President Harrison Young. The company has a full or partial ownership stake in 10 senior living developments throughout the southeast and typically seeks out planned communities like The Grove in which to develop its facilities.

“We try to locate in TNDs or mixed-use developments whenever we can,” Young says. “We like to be in vibrant, active environments to draw our residents out of the facility and into the community.”

Young says there aren’t many comparable facilities in the Baton Rouge market. This will be Cardinal’s first project here. It has an affiliated company that owns and operates an upscale senior living community in Lafayette called The Blake at Lafayette.

The Planning Commission will take up the proposed development plan at its June 15 meeting.

Originally published by Greater Baton Rouge Business Report