PORTAGE PARK — James “Jim” Stanton loves making friends.
Stanton was the first tenant to move into The Clarendale at Six Corners, the area’s senior living complex that officially opened to residents last month.
Originally from Ohio, Stanton, 84, decided it was time to sell his house, downsize and move closer to family. One of his daughters lives a few blocks away in Old Irving Park, and another daughter lives in suburban Palatine.
The appeal of the modern building with amenities and its location near a bustling shopping corner with diverse restaurants and transportation options were major selling points as well, he said.
“You don’t normally see a 10-story senior center. I’ve been in some and they are depressing … but the architectural firm did a hell of a job here,” Stanton said. “The people that management have here could not be nicer to me. And it’s close to my youngest daughter here.”
The 10-story, $130 million senior living complex at 4747 W. Irving Park Road passed its final inspection last month, after more than two years of construction.
The complex, built by Ryan Companies and operated by Life Care Services, has 258 rental apartments: 114 independent living units, 98 assisted living units and 46 memory care studio suites.
So far, seven people have moved into the independent living units, and 20 more are scheduled to move in by the end of the month, said Amelia Howard, executive director of The Clarendale. By August, 60 residents are expected to be in the building, she said.
Rent is $4,400 a month for independent living, $6,000 for assisted living and $7,200 for memory care, according to Dan Walsh, senior vice president of real estate development at Ryan Companies.
Eleven of the 114 independent living units will be marked as affordable and cost $1,173-$1,407 a month — and 900 people applied to be on the waitlist for the units, Howard said.
The building features amenities like doormen and full-time security, three restaurants, private event dining, a movie theater, fitness studio, salon, transportation to local shopping, medical care, yoga and more. There are also three terraces where music and dancing events will take place, Howard said.
Chambers of commerce and neighborhood organizations are welcome to rent out the communal spaces; some already have meetings scheduled for the summer, she said.
Tenants for the ground-floor retail spaces of the development have not been chosen, Howard said. She said she expects retail interest and activity to pick up once Target begins moving into the former Sears building across the street, which is being converted into a six-story residential and retail development.
“I’m excited about Novak [Construction] across the street from us. … You see so much construction and progress. They have moved us in the right direction, and we need that,” Howard said.
Target is slated to open in the fall, officials previously said. A long-awaited Aldi grocery store will be built in the corner lot behind The Clarendale and is scheduled to open late this year, company representatives previously told Block Club.
‘A Little Bit Of History’
The interior of The Clarendale is full of Chicago pride, incorporating remnants of the bank that used to be at the site. Historical photos of the Northwest Side hang in the corridors, restaurants and gathering spaces, showcasing different neighborhoods and parks. Work by local artists and photographers also adorn the walls, and each amenity room is named after a street or Northwest Side neighborhood.
“This art installation is a little piece of history … the gates from the actual bank that was here,” said Howard as she pointed to the metal gates that sit in one of the communal rooms.
The building’s memory care units will have 24-hour staff and security, a restaurant, a small terrace and amenities to assist people with memory issues.
Life stations, mini installations that can remind residents of their yesteryears and make them feel more at ease, are scattered throughout the memory care floor, which is separate from the rest of the building for security and health reasons. The stations have themes such as sports, music, fashion and art, Howard said.
Five residents are slated to move into the memory care units next week. Once they do, the units, which Howard calls neighborhoods, will feel more alive and warm, she said.
“We have life stations throughout the whole community for residents who think they are still in that yesteryear — they still think that they work at that previous job or live with those previous kids,” Howard said. “This whole neighborhood is theirs: This living room is their living room, the kitchen is their kitchen. That’s their desk, that’s their office [or] music station if they want to play some records.”
The Clarendale will have 150 employees, including nurses, security, concierge services, restaurant and dining staff and personal drivers, Howard said. About 20 have been hired so far.
As more people settle into the building, company officials hope it will continue to revitalize the area, bring in retailers and bring people back to Portage Park.
Stanton lives in one of the independent living units and has been busy getting to know the local shops, baking, cooking and going golfing, he said.
Since moving in a few weeks ago, Stanton has made it his mission to meet all of the new tenants and make friends with all of the staff. So far he’s been successful, said Howard.
“My mission in life is to help people and I talk to everyone. … When you’re 84, almost 85, I’m pretty good at it,” Stanton said.
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