$55 million assisted living facility planned for Chattanooga’s East Brainerd area

Staff photo by Mike Pare / A yellow planning notice sign sits in front of a vacant house on Morris Lane on Tuesday. A company is planning a 120-unit assisted living and memory care facility.

A new assisted living and memory care operation appears headed to Chattanooga as a company has won approval from a city planning board for a proposed $55 million facility.

Harmony Senior Services will run the 120-unit site when it's built at East Brainerd Road and Morris Lane, said Joe Conver in an interview Monday.

"We'll start within the next year," he said after the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission OK'd the project. The Chattanooga City Council still needs to give final approval to the facility that will sit near the East Brainerd Publix shopping center.

Conver, who works for the development side of the business, said construction of the three-level, 89,000-square-foot location will take 18 to 22 months. It will go up on a 7-acre tract that's mostly vacant except for a few boarded up houses.

"Folks who have lived here for their entire lives, it will be exciting to have their families enjoy a beautiful place to live," he said.

Chattanooga City Council Member Darrin Ledford, of East Brainerd, cited Conver's group for working with the adjacent neighborhood. He also said Harmony will save an aged oak tree on the parcel.

"There's a great oak tree that is magnificent," Ledford said at the meeting.

Conver said 40 units at the facility will be devoted to the memory care side of the operation, adding dementia is on the increase.

"We'll have support groups," he said. "We'll be bringing education to the community."

(READ MORE: Orange Grove center aims to educate about dementia, disabilities)

The facility, which will have 84 parking spaces, will not offer an independent living component, but it will provide medical staff at all times, Conver said.

The official for the company, which has offices in Roanoke, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina, said plans are to build and operate the facility on a continuing basis.

"We're not selling off a piece of land to somebody," Conver said. "We will operate it. That's very important. We take pride the first year when it's brand new and beautiful, and 10, 15, 20 years down the road, we'll still own it inside our portfolio. We have no intention of selling it to the highest bidder."

Also locally, Ooltewah-based Morning Pointe Senior Living plans to open a new facility in Walker County, Georgia, later this year.

Situated at 2989 Happy Valley Road in Rossville, Morning Pointe Happy Valley will offer 58 assisted living apartments and 24 memory care units specially designed for residents with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of memory loss, according to the company.

The senior living is part of an overall community redevelopment of the 300-acre Happy Valley Farms.

(READ MORE: Morning Pointe breaks ground on 40th center)

In addition, Morning Pointe is opening a new facility outside Knoxville. The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer's Center of Excellence at Hardin Valley will include 60 single-level apartments, providing care for those with early stage Alzheimer's and other dementia in one section and more specialized care for more advanced memory loss patients in another part of the new facility.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.