Two of Buckhead’s biggest senior residential complexes aim to get even bigger along their section of Peachtree Road near the Brookhaven border.
Canterbury Court and Lenbrook currently have hundreds of residents living in their respective tower complexes, which face each other across Peachtree between Club Drive and Kingsboro Road. Lenbrook’s $100 million expansion is already approved by the city and may start construction in mid-2020. Canterbury Court is still in talks with Historic Brookhaven neighbors concerned about local impacts.
The two facilities are independently operated, but have a similar model as not-for-profit “Life Plan Communities.” That’s an industry term for complexes that offer regular homes for active seniors as well as assisted living, medical care and other resources that they may need as they age.
“The reason why we’re both doing this is, the Atlanta market is far underserved for this type of Life Plan Community,” says James Wells, the CEO at Canterbury Court, adding that the expansions are about meeting needs, not keeping up with competition. “It isn’t like one’s going to be a winner and one’s going to be a loser,” he said.
Wells said he and Lenbrook CEO Christopher Keysor once worked together and are aware of each other’s plans. Depending on timelines and approvals, it’s possible that the two facilities could coordinate some construction and street improvements, such as a mutual traffic light on Peachtree.
Canterbury Court dates to 1965 and opened its current nine-to-10-story towers in 1991 and 2005. Wells said it needs to modernize medical uses, such as a clinic, and wants to add about 136 residential units to the current 188.
But before that can happen, Canterbury Court has more talking to do with neighbors. On Dec. 6, it sought a 30-day deferral from the city Zoning Review Board for more discussion.
“It’s a nightmare for privacy, our home values, safety of our children, air quality [and] the fact that we will no longer have sun in our yards,” said
Maggie Patton, one of the neighbors on Club Drive, about the plans, which would add new towers of roughly seven and 10 stories. She said the plan could be “likened to the pulling of a loose thread that can unravel and set a precedent for any forthcoming developments seeking to change zoning regulations around Historic Brookhaven.”
“Some things we’re in agreement on, and some things we’re still debating,” Wells said of the neighbors, adding that Canterbury Court officials are listening and likely will reach an agreement.
Wells said he understands that building heights and setbacks are big concerns, as well as improvements to water runoff, landscaping and traffic. Such improvements as a new traffic light could help residents of both complexes and the neighborhood at large, he said. “Peachtree is like running across a freeway,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lenbrook is already preparing its expansion onto a 4-acre site along Kingsboro Road in Ridgedale Park, where the facility bought a small apartment and five single-family houses. For Lenbrook, which opened in 1983, it means adding 53 residences for a total of 480, as well as 119 more parking spaces.
The project is big enough to have its own name, Kingsboro at Lenbrook. It will include “The Flats,” a five-story building with 39 residential units, and
“The Villas,” three buildings containing the rest of the units. An opening is expected in early 2022.
“We already offer beautiful, vibrant design and outdoor areas on our existing Lenbrook campus, and Kingsboro at Lenbrook will further enhance that look and add even more usable green space,” said Keysor, Lenbrook’s CEO, in a press release. “In addition, this project will positively impact the residents and community by providing safe access to Peachtree Road, preserving the look and feel of the surrounding neighborhood, and protecting the views of our residents.”