Developers are looking to move forward with a second building at the Residences of Crystal Lake senior living complex.
The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the preliminary plans for the project to the City Council for approval at its last meeting.
The project also needs approval from the Illinois Housing and Development Agency, after which it will return to the Planning and Zoning Commission with final site plans.
The first building, which has 60 units, opened just after the pandemic began in March 2020 and filled up immediately, said John Green, an architect with Buffalo Grove-based Groundwork LTD who is designing the building.
While the conceptual renderings are new, developers always planned to put a “brother or sister” building on the adjacent empty lot along Congress Parkway, Green said.
At the time of the first phase of construction, Turnstone Development had purchased acreage for the eventual second building, and engineering and sewer work was done for the entire project at that time, Green said.
If approved, the second building would be three stories tall and have 27 units, with a slightly different color scheme from the first building, according to project planning documents.
An optimistic start date for the second building’s groundbreaking could be as early as spring 2023, Green said.
The waiting list of potential tenants for the first building indicates a high unmet demand for both affordable and senior housing, Green said.
“The need keeps growing, not shrinking,” Green said. “We appreciate how open Crystal Lake is to embrace providing homes for people with lower or restricted incomes.”
The expected monthly rent for units in the building will be in the $700 to $900 range, Green said.
The waiting list for the current building has grown to 45, Green said. Average turnover in Turnstone’s senior homes is five to seven years.
“We have been in this market for a long time,” Green said of his company, Groundwork LTD. “When baby boomers start turning 80, that’s going to to create demand for the next 20 years. People are seeing this real need and promoting and pushing it.”
While the smaller second building will include a few new common spaces, residents of both buildings will have access to the first building’s amenities, which include a theater, library, game room, computer room and fitness center.
“This is an excellent project for Crystal Lake,” senior city planner Elizabeth Maxwell said. “It provides affordable senior housing, allowing people to age in place and stay within their community.”
Crystal Lake Community Development Director Katie Cowlin said she has noticed more proposals for senior housing in the past few years, and she has heard from older residents at public hearings who’ve said they want to stay in town.
“There is a proven demand,” Cowlin said. “These units get filled right away and companies keep saying there are wait lists for their communities.”
Cowlin cited the planned 119-unit building proposed by Clover Communities for 731 E. Terra Cotta Ave. as another project the city expects to move forward with to help meet that demand.