The Colonnade redesigned with all comforts of home

News-DemocratFebruary 28, 2014 

The signature columns are one of the few remnants of a nursing home that has taken on a new look and mission.

For decades, The Colonnade in O'Fallon has served the elderly in the community since the 1960s. For the past several months, the building at 700 Weber Road has undergone an interior renovation and addition to refocus toward serving the burgeoning need for assisted living.

The building was purchased two years ago by business partners Jonathan Levey, David Smith and Alexandra Fisher. With more than $13.6 million in capital investments, they renovated and redesigned the space and added 35,000 square feet for a total of 76,000 square feet.

In two weeks, The Colonnade Senior Living Community expects to move in its first residents to the assisted living center, which will provide 60 clients a studio or one-bedroom apartments with appliances and amenities of independent living while under the care of nurses and staff. Another 32 apartments in another section of the building is Heritage at The Colonnade, where clients with dementia and Alzheimer's disease can live independently and receive memory care.

Executive director Kimberly Patterson has 20 years of experience in the senior care industry. She said both parts of The Colonnade are centered on life enrichment for its residents.

"The greatest thing that's so wonderful about this is that if they can come in as independent and they need some assistance, they don't have to leave their apartment," Patterson said. "So it goes with the everything in place where people don't have to feel like that I need medication help or I need help bathing, now I have go to a whole other building or a different apartment. They just stay, which is really nice.'

Levey said he and his partners have developed a model of senior care as the scope of elderly care has shifted away from traditional nursing homes. He said The Colonnade is designed to provide clients care with all of the comforts of home.

"I think the prevailing wisdom was ... that somebody who had signs of dementia or other cognitive illness needed to be in some kind of institutional care setting, and what we're learning more and more is that symptoms are often intermittent," Levey said. "Just because someone has dementia doesn't mean that they can't still enjoy an outdoor space, reading the newspaper or happy hour or whatever they used to do and they're still able to do."

Family members and friends who come to visit loved ones at assisted living community may feel like they are visiting a hotel or resort. The accommodations include dining areas that will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., gift shops, library, activities room, exercise room, theater and a bistro room that has a pool table and bar with a daily happy hour. Physical and occupational therapists from RPI in St. Louis will also be staffed on site. Chauffeured transportation service will be provided.

"One of the things that I love about The Colonnade and Heritage is that it is truly about discovering everything about the person so that we can really have a unique approach to how we do our activities," Patterson said. "Everything is geared around the residents."

Levey said that he and his partners also want to focus on the families of the residents at The Colonnade.

"When you have the service offerings that are attractive to both residents and guests, I know we've got them at the right level," he said. "We will have succeeded if we have a place where family members want to come."

Assisted senior living studio apartments range from $2,500 to $3,000 a month, and one-bedroom apartments will cost $4,000. Apartments for memory care residents is $5,000 a month.

Levey said The Colonnade has pre-leased some of the apartments and will be actively marketing more units this spring.

O'Fallon City Developer Ted Shekell said this redevelopment project is one of the best he has seen his 16 years with the city.

"We couldn't be happier," Shekell said. "It was in pretty rough shape. It had been let go for quite a while and they have breathed new life into it. It's going to be an asset to the community."

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 618-239-2526.

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