By Andrew Wroblewski
Gurwin Jewish Geriatric Foundation is seeking a zone change for 10.5 acres of property next to its health care campus in Commack to build a 237-unit senior independent living community.
Gurwin, a nonprofit that operates a 67-acre senior health care campus on Hauppauge Road west of Commack Road, wants to expand to 10.27-acre and a .2-acre unoccupied parcels it owns immediately east of its current facility, which houses a nursing and rehabilitation center, residences, health center and home-care services.
Gurwin requires a zone changes from R-40 and R-20 residence districts to R-HS residential health services district to construct what would be the fourth continuing-care retirement community on Long Island, said Gurwin consultant Frank Mandy.
As outlined by the state Department of Health, CCRCs are residential alternatives for seniors ages 62 and up that offer, under one contract, an independent living unit, residential facilities and access to long-term care services, as residents’ needs change over time.
Mandy said, on average, residents of CCRCs are in their mid- to late-70s and typically reside in the communities for 11 years. The residential units could range from $300,000 to $700,000, Mandy said.
“It’s a continuum. You move in healthy and, as your health needs change with age, you have the ability to move into the higher levels of care,” Mandy said. “The units use an entrance-fee model, so someone would typically sell their home and use the equity from their home to pay the entrance fee. The entrance fee has a level of refund-ability associated with it, which can vary depending on the choice the senior makes related to the size of the unit.”
If residents of CCRCs die while living in the communities, that refund is then applied to the persons’ estate.
If approved by the town board, and later by the town planning board, Gurwin plans to stagger construction across two phases, although construction wouldn’t be expected to begin before 2017. The first phase would include four residential buildings consisting of 176 units and one community center. A second phase, which Mandy said may or may not be built depending on the success of the first phase, would have 61 more units in two additional buildings.
Mandy said Gurwin would bid the construction work locally to Long Island-based firms. He added that Gurwin has met with civic groups, such as the Greater Huntington Civic Group, and had “positive conversations” regarding the proposal. Steven Spucces, president of the Greater Huntington Civic Group, said Wednesday that the proposal was met with “warm reception.”
Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, who seconded with Councilman Eugene Cook the resolution scheduling a Dec. 8 public hearing on the matter at a town board meeting Nov. 5, said Tuesday that the proposal is “certainly worth consideration.”
“It fits in with the existing uses in the area,” he said, citing Gurwin’s current operations and The Hamlet Golf & Country Club, which is immediately south of Hauppauge Road. “But we’ll have to wait and hear at the public hearing.”