One of three similar projects underway in Hockessin

Developers have unveiled plans for a proposed senior living facility in Hockessin – the third project of its kind in the works for the area.

At the Greater Hockessin Area Development Association meeting Nov. 18, members from Virginia-based senior living company Smith/Packett Med-Com LLC and their associates presented plans for a senior living community off McGovern Road.

John Tracey, of Young Conaway Stargatt and Taylor, noted that the plans were in the earliest stages of development and subject to public input and feedback.

The proposed facility would be constructed on the 27-acre lot off McGovern Road, formerly owned by the Glenn family and known for a series of steep ridges bordering an eased portion of the lot.

Tracey said the majority of the lot would remain as open space, with the roughly 195,000-square foot facility and parking lot taking up between four and six acres.

The facility would have 180 units, with sections for independent living, assisted living and memory-support needs.

Tracey said that the developers are still months away from submitting the plans to New Castle County to begin the process, and that community feedback was the next important step.

“These are very, very preliminary plans – GHADA was our first stop,” Tracey said.

Jeff Bross of Duffield Assoc. noted that while Smith/Packett has developed dozens of senior living facilities throughout the US, none of them are “cookie-cutter” or made to look exactly the same.

“They’re made to reflect the nature and architecture of the communities they serve,” Bross said.

Residents noted a concern for the steep slopes and the possible harm that could befall memory-care patients that may wander off the premises.

Tracey said that every precaution would be taken to ensure all patients’ safety, and that there is 24-hour nursing coverage.

Hockessin Historical Society president Joe Lake asked if Smith/Packett would be willing to contribute funds to the already-struggling Hockessin Fire Company – funds beyond the required tax donation developers must already pay.

Bross said that while the facilities do sometimes require emergency services, in the cases of general non-emergency injuries or patient transport, outside ambulance companies are often used instead of impacting community resources.

Two other senior living communities are planned in the Hockessin area, a proposed facility in the 6000 block of Limestone Road and Hockessin Station by Blenheim Homes and Jay Sonecha on Valley Road.

The area is already home to several senior or assisted living facilities, including Cokesbury Village, Brookdale Hockessin, The Summit and Windsor Place, among others.

Valley Road development plans

The Valley Road Focus Group met in November, according to GHADA president Mark Blake. Developer Sonecha was in attendance, Blake said, and demonstrated some surface changes to the plans presented earlier in the fall.

The group will meet again in January to review traffic data, landscape design concepts, and more updated info on site uses, locations and more detailed concept layouts.

An email will be sent to the group, with the location, date and time of the meeting as soon as GHADA has confirmation that the developer has all the requested info available to discuss and present to the group.

Next meeting

The next GHADA meeting is scheduled for Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Hockessin Memorial Hall.