Mansions Senior Living presented early conceptual plans for expanding its senior residences campus along Spalding Drive in Sandy Springs at a Feb. 9 meeting, drawing positive response from the sole neighbor in attendance.

The proposed assisted living facility would front on Spalding Drive and stand behind the existing Mansions Sandy Springs independent living residences at 3175 River Exchange Drive. Plans and a market study are still underway, said Mansions Chief Development Officer Joe Dan Rogers, but the new building could be up to 35,000 square feet and two stories with 64 parking spaces. It could house 45 to 90 residents, depending on the final design.

Joe Dan Rogers (left), chief development officer at Mansions Senior Living, discusses the proposed Spalding Drive assisted living facility with local resident Michelle Merrill at the Feb. 9 meeting. (Photo John Ruch)

“It sounds like a fine use,” said Sandy Springs resident Michelle Merrill, the only neighbor in attendance at the meeting, held at Mansions Sandy Springs. Her main concern was sewer connection, which have caused some local problems. The area, on Sandy Springs’ far eastern panhandle at the Gwinnett County line, also falls in a confusing jurisdiction. Rogers said the building would use Gwinnett County’s sewer system.

The existing 130-unit Mansions residence opened in 2014. It’s one of four Mansions seniors residences, including one in Alpharetta and the others in Oklahoma.

Rogers said that Mansions is building a similar assisted-living home at its Alpharetta site as part of a strategy to keep residents on-site as they age and need more care, rather than moving out. The benefits for such residents are being able to maintain relationships and stay with familiar staff members.

“‘What happened to Doris? Well, she’s over here and I can go have lunch with her,’” Rogers said a Mansions resident could say, rather than missing a friend who had to move far away.

The proposal requires rezoning the roughly 8-acre site from commercial to office, which also covers assisted living, Rogers said. The site was zoned in the 1990s for the Publix-anchored shopping center that ended up next door on Spalding, he said. The proposed residence includes a back driveway connecting to that shopping center.

The site is across River Exchange Drive from the new Crooked Creek Park. It would not encroach on any stream setbacks or buffers, Rogers said.

The site plan of the proposed Mansions Sandy Springs assisted living facility on Spalding Drive.

The proposal is in its early, pre-filing stage, consisting of a basic site plan and general ideas of a brick-and-stucco exterior. The proposal would still require review by city staff, the Sandy Springs Planning Commission and the Sandy Springs City Council. The earliest construction start would likely be in September and construction would take around 18 months.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.