Spectrum Retirement Communities seek to meet growing demand of legacy Scottsdale

The former site Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, 8100 E. Camelback Road, will house a new assisted-living and medical facility. (Submitted Photo)

A residential health care facility will replace the site once occupied by the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale.

Colorado-based Spectrum Retirement Communities is redeveloping the land at 8102 E. Camelback Road to construct a facility officials say will provide both assisted living and memory care services. Spectrum operates assisted and independent living facilities in 12 states across the country, including Arizona where it operates eight facilities.

In June 2017, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts closed its campus and the building has been vacant since.

City Hall is at 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

Scottsdale City Council approved Tuesday, Aug, 28 a zoning map amendment allowing Spectrum to build the residential health care facility. The proposed development calls for the construction of a new 40,000-square-foot, two- and three-story building containing 116 beds.

In 2016, nearly 40 percent of Scottsdale residents were reported to be at least 55 years old, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. According to a 2018 AARP report on long-term services and support, between 2015 and 2050, the 85-and-older population is expected to triple.

Courtney Lauer, an ombudsman for the Maricopa County Area Agency on Aging, an organization that assists older residents with finding the proper programs and services for their health needs, said there will be a growing need for facilities. There are 189 licensed assisted living facilities in Scottsdale, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services website.

Three assisted living center facilities are in the downtown Scottsdale area where Spectrum plans to build its facility. Assisted-living centers are facilities that provide rooms or units to 11 or more residents, where assisted-living homes provide rooms or units to 10 or fewer residents.

William Swearingen, the senior vice president of marketing and sales at Spectrum, said “our demographic research showed us that the area is still able to support additional senior-living communities.”

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Spectrum-Camelback health center. (graphic courtesy of city of Scottsdale)

Mr. Swearingen said the lot’s proximity to the downtown area “absolutely played a role in the decision making process when we considered the acquisition of the property. That fact that it was close to downtown was key.”

The property is apart of the Indian Bend Wash Revitalization Area, a designation that allows the city to focus on how projects in the area change neighborhoods.

The city of Scottsdale says the goals of the Indian Bend Wash Revitalization Area are to promote new recreational, entertainment, and housing options on sites along the wash.

Randy Grant, the planning and development director for the city of Scottsdale, said while the Indian Bend Wash Revitalization area has guidelines it doesn’t have certain criteria that the development must meet in order for approval.

While the city of Scottsdale approved the zoning map amendment, Spectrum will have to submit it’s final building plans to the Development Review Board for approval before the city issues any permits, city officials say.

Editor’s note: Mr. Hernandez is journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University

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