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Elderly facility ‘is meeting a need’

A groundbreaking Thursday afternoon for the first assisted-living facility in Brookhaven, a certified retirement community, has city officials buzzing with excitement.

“I’ve seen BeeHive homes. They’re wonderful, beautiful homes and they take care of people the way they should be taken care of – that’s what I’m most proud of,” said co-owner Lance Newman. “They’re going to love it. You’ll be very surprised at how pretty it is, how organized it is and the care that each person gets. Family members can come and be with their loved ones in a place that pleasant.”

BeeHive Homes is an assisted living franchise with over 150 facilities nationwide. The philosophy behind BeeHive is a more personal, cozy and communal environment, and co-owners Newman and Coby Smith are excited to bring this to Brookhaven. They broke ground Thursday at 1031 W. Congress St. and concrete will be poured within a week. Smith and Newman said the home will open its doors in four to five months.

“It’s meeting a need. We have people that have called and said we need something like this,” Ward 5 Alderman Fletcher Grice said. “And they have insurance to cover this but they’re having to go out of the county. These are elderly people, and they want to stay home. That’s what it means: they get to stay home.”

The 16-unit facility aims to be perfect for elders who can live independently while receiving help with the little things.

“Whatever they need help with in their daily activities is what we’re here for,” Newman said.

Staff at the facilities take care of washing and folding residents’ laundry and cooking meals prepared for specific individuals. Residents may choose their meals and be involved, or have someone else plan for them. The facility will work closely with a pharmacy that will deliver prescriptions so they can manage all of residents’ health needs.

The 16 rooms wrap around the building and surround two kitchen tables, a large open family room and kitchen with a sky-lit and vaulted ceiling, according to plans. The 9,000 square-foot home includes a treatment room (for on-site physical therapy), a sunroom/sitting room for activities, a TV and even a salon. Each room also includes its own cable TV and AC unit. Outside, raised flower beds will provide gardening activities and aesthetics.

Grice said he is excited about this project, and that its location makes it all the more appealing.

“You’re within a small distance of a bank, a drugstore, the post office, a grocery store and also storage facility if they need to store extra belongings. To me this is one of the perfect spots for something like this in Brookhaven. It’s a great location,” he said.

Mayor Joe Cox said he also believes this is a wonderful location for the facility, one that he hopes could spur growth in the area that has space and potential.

“It’s progress – fantastic,” Cox said. “This is a need for the community, we need this.”

The 4-acre lot is one-third of the area, which Grice said has been for sale for a while. Newman said most BeeHive homes fill up before construction is complete. If this is the case in Brookhaven and there is a clear need, the entrepreneurs are game to create a community and build a new independent or assisted living facility.

“Our goal is to continue building depending on need, if we get a waiting list three months into this thing we plan on building another one immediately, within the next six months,” Newman said.

This is also a special opportunity for Newman, a nurse anesthetist at King’s Daughters Medical Center.

“I love Brookhaven. I went to Co-Lin, I grew up here – it’s my home,” Newman said. “So to be able to come back here, have a business and give something back — and do it the right way — means the world to me.”