Armbrook Village Assisted Living Center Under Construction in Westfield
February 23, 2012 : The Republican, by Jim Kinney
WESTFIELD â€“ The pleasure that developer Michael F. McCarthy saw his mother take in the friends and activities she found in a seniors assisted living center led directly to the $19.4 million Armbrook Village development under construction on North Road.
“Loneliness is the worst disease,” McCarthy, 58, said this week. “I’d pick her up for a doctor’s appointment, and all she could talk about was that she had to get back for this choir or that event. There is a market for this out there. The feasibility study we did for Armbrook said we could build 200 units. We are only building 122, but you get the idea of the demand.”
McCarthy’s mother, Jean, has since died, he said. But other family members’ experiences living with Alzheimer's disease are inspiring the memory-care sections of Armbrook.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, announced Wednesday that it made a $3.9 million participation loan for the project, part of about $16 million McCarthy’s group borrowed for the project, with the rest coming in equal shares from Hampden Bank, Savings Institute Bank & Trust Co. of Connecticut and Clinton Savings Bank, of Clinton.
McCarthy said he either put up the remainder of the money himself or raised it from investors.
“It couldn’t have happened without MassDevelopment,” McCarthy said. “We had three banks, and they were the fourth bank.”
He also praised the city for its help.
Hampden Bank Vice President Donald F. Anderson said the bank has financed similar projects in the past, including a recent expansion of Keystone Commons in Ludlow.
The owners have partnered with a Boston company, Senior Living Residences, which will manage the facility. Senior Living Residences owns or manages similar facilities in the eastern part of the state, Anderson said.
Anderson said prices at Armbrook will vary according to how much care a person needs. Independent living units will range from $2,250 a month for a studio to $3,280 a month for a two-bedroom; assisted living will range from $3,850 to $4,995 and month; and memory-care starts at $4,980 and goes up to $7,500 a month for double-occupancy, typically used by a husband and a wife with memory problems.
“People roll their eyes at that. But all your living expenses are taken care of,” Anderson said. “There is a dining room. All you need to pay for is your telephone, basically.” The project has also received tax-increment financing, or a TIF agreement from the city and the state that should save the project $1.3 million in property taxes over five years.
But McCarthy said that Armbrook, once it is fully operational, should generate about $300,000 a year in property taxes, so the city will make its money back.
The facility will also create about 100 full- and part-time jobs, according to documents provided by MassDevelopment.
McCarthy said Sage Engineering, of Westfield, is the general contractor. There are about 30 construction workers at the site at any given time. Work began in October and is expected to take 18 months to complete.
“We have local electricians, local everything,” McCarthy said.
He originally bought the 35-acre plot near Barnes Regional Airport with the idea of building a gas station. McCarthy’s company, B&D Petroleum of Springfield, owns six Citgo gas stations and four Auto Spa car washes in the Pioneer Valley.
© Copyright 2012 The Republican.