Plans filed for new assisted living facility west of Wakarusa Drive

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

Plans have been filed for the vacant lot at 1311 Research Park Drive to become the home of a new assisted living facility. The west Lawrence property is pictured Aug. 10, 2021.

If the plans are approved at Lawrence City Hall, a couple of hundred feet on a west Lawrence block may contain nearly the full spectrum of life. Plans have been filed for an assisted living facility to be built next door to the Lawrence Montessori School, giving the young and not-so-young new opportunities to interact.

“We are really hoping to collaborate with the school,” said Alicia Holmes, an owner of the proposed BeeHive Homes Assisted Living facility at 1311 Research Park Drive. “I know some schools come in for day trips or they do a grandparent-for-a-day program. Just even having our residents be able to hear them playing outside will be wonderful.”

Holmes and her husband, Brian Holmes, hope to begin construction on the new BeeHive Homes Assisted Living facility by the end of the year. But first, Lawrence city commissioners must approve a special use permit for the project before it can begin. The project is slated for vacant ground just south of the school, which is about a block south and west of the intersection of Wakarusa and Legends drives.

Plans call for a two-phase project. The first phase involves a 12,000-square-foot building that would have 20 bedrooms, a dining hall, shared living room space and other amenities. A second phase, which Holmes said likely wouldn’t come for two or three years, would include a second building of a similar size.

The Holmes family became interested in opening an assisted living facility after watching Brian’s parents own and operate a BeeHive facility in New Mexico. The Idaho-based franchise helps people open and operate assisted living facilities across the country. The BeeHive facilities feature 24-hour on-site care, private bedrooms and bathrooms for each resident, a full-service dining room that serves three meals plus snacks each day, on-site activities and lots of shared living spaces that are designed to create a family-like atmosphere among residents of the building.

“They do a really good job of putting people’s needs first,” Alicia Holmes said of the BeeHive organization. “They feel like it is a mission and a calling. We are excited because we are looking for that in our family — to have that higher purpose.

“We have five children, and we are really excited for them to have a lot of new grandparents.”

The Holmes family moved to Lawrence about three years ago from the Santa Fe, N.M., area. Alicia said they had moved several times but were looking for a place to settle down. The idea of getting into the assisted living business had persisted ever since seeing Brian’s parents successfully venture into the business.

“Living in Lawrence, we thought ‘Let’s make this move permanent,'” she said. “It is a great community and we wanted to put down roots, and there is no better way to do that than to start a business.”

Alicia said Lawrence-based Paul Werner Architects is close to finishing the design plans for the facility. If construction can begin this fall, she expects the center to open by the fall of 2022.

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