Kevin Valine

Two projects, totaling $50 million, coming to northwest Modesto

A Washington developer plans to spend a total of about $50 million to build memory care and independent living communities for seniors off Dale Road across from the Kaiser Modesto Medical Center.

The memory-care facility would serve about 72 residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The independent living facility will have 134 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. It would offer such services as housekeeping, a fully staffed kitchen and dining hall, linen service and activities.

RJ Development project manager Austin Groves said construction should start next year with both projects opening in mid- to late 2017. Koelsch Senior Communities will operate both communities.

“There is an overwhelming need for top-notch memory care and independent living,” said Groves, whose company has built such projects in several states. “We feel we can fulfill that need in the Modesto area.”

He said the memory-care facility will employ about 40 people, and the independent living facility will employ about 30.

The two facilities will occupy seven of the roughly 20 acres that Modesto-based Valley Ventures is developing. Valley Ventures officials said Marriott will build a Residence Inn at the site. Valley Ventures is working on landing a 24-hour restaurant, such as a Denny’s, for the development. Valley Ventures President Buz Carrade said negotiations continue with a health care provider to complete the project.

Carrade said Valley Ventures expects to begin putting in the roads and utilities at the site in the spring.

This is not the only Valley Ventures project in northwest Modesto. It also is developing 45 vacant acres on Dale Road just north of Vintage Faire Mall. The project calls for a 170-lot, single-family subdivision, upscale apartments and commercial development – such as stores and offices – fronting Dale.

Both projects are good news for Modesto, which has not seen a lot of development since the recession.

Work on putting in the infrastructure for the subdivision is expected to start in spring. The apartments would be next in line for development. The 45 acres is owned by the Gagos family, and Mitch Gagos said the commercial development will occur based on market conditions.

The City Council on Tuesday approved zoning for the 45 acres and changed how stormwater is handled in what is called the Kiernan Business Park Specific Plan, which is roughly 600 acres and includes the nearly 20-acre project next to Kaiser. Developers had been required to put in stormwater basins and eventually pump the water into irrigation canals.

The new method is much less expensive and entails developers handling the stormwater on site, filtering it and allowing it to sink into the ground and recharge the aquifer. City officials say the new method conforms with how the state wants Modesto to handle stormwater.

Modesto adopted the Kiernan specific plan in 1997 and envisions it as an economic engine and jobs creator. But it only has seen two major projects over the years: the Northpointe Shopping Center and Kaiser.

That could change.

Dave Romano of Newman-Romano, which is serving as the land-use consultant on the Valley Ventures projects, told council members Tuesday the specific plan is more attractive to developers now because of road improvements, such as putting in signals at intersections and doubling Kiernan Avenue from two to four lanes. He said the change in stormwater handling also could encourage developers.

Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316