Playing in Peoria

As a senior housing development company that originally focused on its home state of Texas, Caddis Partners LLC decided to take a chance and see if its brand of eldercare would play in Peoria. Developing a community in the heart of the Midwest — an Illinois town historically seen as a gauge of the nation’s pulse — not only validated the company’s approach, but provided a much-needed source of care for the elderly population.

Heartis Village Peoria, which opened in December, is an $18 million new-construction community of 97,000 square feet, including a single-story, 36-unit memory care building and a three-story residential building offering 72 assisted living apartments. It is operated by Pathway Senior Living.

“We have done a lot in Texas and we wanted to expand into the Midwest with an operator who was interested in partnering with us,” says Eric Reiter, Caddis’ senior manager of development. “Based on our review on the demographics of the area, Peoria checked all the boxes of what we wanted to see — an underserved market that indicated strong demand. We knew our concept would work well, and so far there has been a great response by the marketplace.”

The assisted living component features luxury apartments in a mix of studio and one- and two-bedroom layouts. Amenities include a salon and spa with a therapeutic tub, two interior courtyards, a large dining room with adjacent commercial kitchen and a private dining room, theater room, library and computer room. The memory care units offer a studio layout with a private bathroom and direct access to dining and common areas. The building also is equipped with multiple therapy rooms, an activities center, sun room, salon and secured outdoor space.

Services include a 24-hour emergency call system, housekeeping and laundry services, personal transportation and daily living assistance.

Reiter served as the project leader during the planning phase and worked closely with the operator and contractor on developing a facility that would best serve everyone’s needs. Instead of putting forth a preconceived floor plan, Reiter based the design on the programs, activities and services the organization wanted to provide for residents. 

“This is definitely not cookie cutter,” he says. “We built it from the ground up especially for this market.”

The entryway and foyer create the “wow” factor for visitors, with stately wood columns and a vaulted ceiling, whereas the dining room windows allow plenty of sunlight to illuminate the interior during the day. Various public and private lounge areas allow residents to socialize or relax by themselves.

“Soaring spaces and wonderfully cozy areas are both important features,” Reiter says, “because it creates a sense of community and allows for privacy as well.”

The overall design style is what Jud Jacobs, Caddis’ executive vice president and partner, calls “prairie chic,” which features sharp vertical and horizontal lines, made famous by Illinois architect Frank Lloyd Wright and others. The village concept is a communal setting that focuses on wellness but is also set up to provide comfort and security as well, Jacobs says.

“It is a combination of design and quality of care,” he says. “We want residents to feel like this is their home and not an institution.”