The Lodge at Old Trail Aims for April Opening

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David Hilliard in front of The Lodge, currently under construction in Old Trail.
David Hilliard in front of The Lodge, currently under construction in Old Trail.

The new senior living facility called The Lodge at Old Trail that is being built with impressive speed next to Old Trail Village has set April 28 of next year as its opening date. It will offer services to seniors who want to live near their children and grandchildren in the Crozet area and thus encourage multi-generational community relationships, according to David Hilliard, the project’s developer.

“What I’m trying to do is literally bring services back to the center of the community. So, for Old Trail and Crozet, if Mom is living at The Lodge, she can walk to coffee or, say, meet her daughter who is taking the kids to school.

“When you’re retired now, you’re not as important as you used to be, and I think that’s wrong,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is to get you back on the front stoop, sort of like the old days where everybody can see each other. We’re part of Crozet and I’m trying to make The Lodge be like Crozet is [with generations of the same families living here]. We want to help people get their parents to live here and make a multi-generational community.”

The Lodge will offer three levels of service. The section called The Ridges will have 70 apartments for active, independent adults and include a dining room, a pub, a deli and a dance floor. One- or two-bedroom floor plans (either 700 or 1,015 square feet) will be available with full kitchens, walk-in closets, balconies, carpeting and drapes. The monthly fee will include all utilities, a meal plan, housekeeping and linen services, scheduled transportation services, indoor parking on the basement level (80 spaces), and an array of social, cultural and activity programs. Rent will also include concierge service and a staff physical therapist.

The second level, Piedmont Assisted Living, will have 40 apartments and will offer the same services at The Ridges plus personal care assistance, medication management and three meals a day. The apartments are designed so that residents switching from the Ridges to Piedmont do not have to reduce their possessions or furniture, Hilliard said.

A memory care facility called The Seasons, set apart and on the first floor, will have 16 studio rooms with bathrooms, all with a specialized design suitable for those with memory loss, plus a secure garden area. Residents will have 24-hour  programming.

“Nobody is getting better who has dementia,” said Hilliard. “We try to create normalcy.”

“The bottom line is dignity and respect,” he said. “On the assisted living side, I don’t want someone to have to downsize. Everything fits. What people in the business want to do is pack people in. But I say no. People will have the same size apartment, but no kitchen because we’ll provide the meals.

“I want to promote an active, multi-generational community. In offering services, we try to respond to what people want to do. People want choices and that’s key for me.” The  Lodge will partner with the Senior Center in Charlottesville in some programming, he said.

“What’s happening with seniors is that they decide to move in to facilities when it’s too late. An event happens and everything is taken out of their hands. We want people to come earlier to have fun before they have to come in. We want couples to come in.”

The Lodge will offer a ‘third Thursday’ speakers series beginning Sept. 22 at the Old Trail Golf Clubhouse. Speakers lined up include Gabriele Rausse, admired for his role in establishing the local wine industry; local historian Phil James; former Virginia Governor Gerald Baliles, now director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at U.Va.; Peter Hatch, who oversees the gardens at Monticello; and former commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference Gene Corrigan.

Hilliard declined to state the cost of the 186,000-square-foot project any more precisely than “more than 20 million.” He said the construction phase will employ some 400 workers. When complete and occupied, The Lodge will have about 160 residents and employ 100 people, he predicted, a boon to nearby shops and restaurants.

Hilliard said he chose Crozet for the location of the project—he has two similar facilities in Vermont—because he wanted to come back to Charlotteville, where he was born. He has been living in New York.

“I picked Crozet because in Old Trail I can be next to retail and it’s beautiful here. There was no other facility here but Mountainside Senior Living and I can be less expensive than even facilities in Waynesboro.” Monthly rates will range from $3,250 to $5,895, everything included.