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Continuing care retirement community planned for Hopewell Township site

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A proposed continuing care retirement community on Scotch Road, next to Capital Health Medical Center-Hopewell, inched closer to reality last week as the Township Committee in Hopewell Township named a redeveloper to take on the project.

Committee members passed a resolution naming Van Princess Realty Group LLC to be the redeveloper of the 38-acre parcel at its Dec. 17 meeting. Van Princess Realty Group LLC is a joint venture between Capital Health Systems Inc. and CF Hopewell CC&L LLC.

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The proposed development is part of a settlement agreement reached between Hopewell Township and the nonprofit Fair Share Housing Center, Cherry Hill. The Fair Share Housing Center sued Hopewell Township and many other New Jersey towns in an effort to compel them to provide opportunities for the development of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households.

A continuing care retirement community provides staged living – from completely independent living to an assisted living facility, in which residents receive help with medication, grooming and the tasks of daily living. It will include a skilled nursing care facility and a memory care unit for patients with dementia.

Although a development application has not yet been submitted to the Planning Board, the proposal calls for building up to 500 beds in the continuing care retirement community, said Mark Kataryniak, the township’s community development director and municipal engineer.

The facility would include up to 400 age-restricted condominiums and other independent living options, and the remainder in assisted living facilities. Up to 10 percent of the beds in the assisted living facilities would be set aside for Medicaid recipients, helping the township to meet part of its affordable housing obligation.

Kataryniak told committee members the northern part of the site would be earmarked for the assisted living facility and memory care unit, and the southern section would be set aside for the independent living component. The facility will likely be built over time, to meet market demands.

“We want the general architectural themes to tie into the look and feel of the Capital Health Medical Center-Hopewell. It will be a high-end, upscale development,” Kataryniak said.

Residents in the independent living neighborhood would have access to a wide range of amenities, such as fitness and aquatic facilities. It is anticipated they would have access to consultation and care provided by the adjacent hospital and its physicians, township officials said.

Dennis Dooley, vice president of planning and development for Capital Health Systems, agreed the development “should look like a whole unit.” It will be an amenity-rich environment, he told the Township Committee.

“Clearly, there is a demand for the project we hope to put here,” Dooley said, adding there is “strong interest” in developments of this type. Based on studies, there is a need for this type of development, he said.

The hospital corporation will seek out a developer to build the project, Dooley said, adding that “we will have absolute oversight. We will own the land, not the buildings. We think it is prudent to have a land lease and not a land sale.”

“It is fair to say, if we move with normal speed, we will have a shovel in the ground in 2020,” Dooley said.

The memory care and skilled nursing units would be built first, followed by the independent living component, he said.

Mayor Kevin Kuchinski said Hopewell Township is “proud” to work with Capital Health Systems and its partners to create new housing options for Hopewell Valley residents who want to down-size, but not leave the community. It will fill a gap in the township’s current housing options, he said.

“Our seniors have been asking for these types of housing options for some time,”  Committeewoman Kristin McLaughlin said. “Residents can now confidently plan for their futures in the Hopewell Valley, while ensuring future health care needs are met.”

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