Government & Politics  December 12, 2023

Erickson senior living proposal faces scrutiny from Westminster officials

WESTMINSTER — A plan to build 1,500 senior-living units and a 300-bed assisted-living facility in Westminster could face an uphill battle for regulatory approval as city officials raised a host of concerns about the Erickson Living LLC project during a conceptual review hearing Monday. 

“I’m not there,” Westminster mayor Nancy McNally said of her willingness to support the project planned for a vacant 74-acre parcel east of U.S. Highway 36 and Westminster Boulevard and south of West 104th Avenue.

The 1,500 units would be for independent-living residents over the age of 62 and would include one- and two-bedroom apartments, according to a Westminster planning document. 

“The health care beds may include a combination of assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing,” the memo said. 

Amenities would likely “include a medical center, pharmacy, fitness centers, movie theaters, classrooms, restaurants, cafes, and a pool among others,” planning documents said. “The project is proposed to be built in phases. Buildings will be four to five stories in height and arranged in a campus-like setting.”

Marcus Pachner, a consultant who represented the Maryland-based developer of communities for seniors during Monday’s review, told city officials that Erickson “believe(s) this is really a transformational opportunity for Westminster and this region to address senior housing and provide economic development.”

Erickson expects the community to employ about 350 full-time workers with an annual payroll nearly $20 million at buildout. That buildout process is expected to be performed by more than 1,400 construction workers.

The developer has begun working with nursing programs at local community colleges on coordinating workforce development efforts “to really integrate students onto the site,” Pachner said.

However, Westminster leaders questioned whether a senior community offers the best economic-development bang for the buck on one of the city’s last large and undeveloped sites along the U.S. Highway 36 corridor. 

“It is a hot spot for innovation and technology, and we don’t have a ton of spots left for those kinds of things,” McNally said. 

Erickson had previously planned to build a 1,500-unit community a short distance west on U.S. Highway 36 in Louisville’s yet-to-be approved Redtail Ridge project. However, Redtail’s developers, in response to community input, scrapped the residential component of the project in favor of biotechnology-centric commercial space. 

Affordability was also a concern for Westminster officials. Erickson residents pay what the company calls a “refundable entrance deposit” that often costs several hundred-thousand dollars or more and a “monthly service package” that typically starts at more than $2,000.

“The only people who could afford this are already financially well off,” Councilwoman Amber Hott said. 

The scope of the project and the number of units and people it will bring to the site raised some eyebrows at Monday’s review.

“I’m concerned about the density,” Councilwoman Kristine Ireland said. “The residents of our city are tired of all the density we’ve built over the last few years, and I don’t think they’ll be supportive of the project.”

Erickson representatives said the unit and bed counts are just a jumping off point for discussion and could be adjusted. “We’re just putting out the number of the 1,500 (units) and 300 (beds),” Pachner said. “I think we want to shape with the community what the final plan is.”

Erickson Map2
The 1,500-unit project is planned for a vacant 74-acre parcel east of U.S. Highway 36 and Westminster Boulevard and south of West 104th Avenue. Documents from an Erickson presentation expected to be given to city officials.

WESTMINSTER — A plan to build 1,500 senior-living units and a 300-bed assisted-living facility in Westminster could face an uphill battle for regulatory approval as city officials raised a host of concerns about the Erickson Living LLC project during a conceptual review hearing Monday. 

“I’m not there,” Westminster mayor Nancy McNally said of her willingness to support the project planned for a vacant 74-acre parcel east of U.S. Highway 36 and Westminster Boulevard and south of West 104th Avenue.

The 1,500 units would be for independent-living residents over the age of 62 and would include one- and two-bedroom apartments, according to…

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
Sign up for BizWest Daily Alerts

Related Content