News and Tribune

Floyd County

September 2, 2007

Silvercrest, in New Albany, to house seniors

A New Albany developer has purchased the former Silvercrest Children’s Development Center and plans to preserve the two main buildings, converting them into housing for senior citizens as early as two years from now.

On Monday, after three months of negotiations, Matt Chalfant paid an undisclosed sum to the state’s Department of Administration, which owned the Old Vincennes Road property and had been maintaining it since the facility closed in May 2006.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Chalfant said Friday in an exclusive interview with The Tribune. “It’s going to be a unique project and it’s not without some challenges, but I think the potential is going to be wonderful.”

Chalfant is “primarily a retail developer,” his resume including projects on Veterans Parkway in Clarksville, but he took interest in the Silvercrest situation because his home adjoins the 42-acre tract.

“If somebody didn’t step in, anything could have happened there,” Chalfant said. Debate about a possible juvenile detention center on the property spurred him to propose an alternative.

The detention center “was not a compatible use in a residential neighborhood,” Chalfant said.

Senior housing made more sense because it would have little impact on the neighborhood and it would attract a growing real estate market of baby boomers who want smaller dwellings, Chalfant said.

“It sounds like an excellent use of the facility itself,” said John Rosenbarger, New Albany’s redevelopment director. Chalfant would need city approval to rezone the site.

The two buildings would offer a range of living independence, from condominiums and studio apartments to assisted-living rooms. Though the larger building has 225 rooms, virtually all are considered too small for Chalfant’s purposes; he envisions half to two-thirds of that amount post-renovation.

Louisville-based planning firm Mendel Scott & Associates will design the project and probably produce blueprints by next spring, Chalfant said.

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