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New senior apartments will offer care

An $11-million, 119-bed assisted-living facility with an Alzheimer's unit is planned for 13 vacant acres on McMullen-Booth Road.

CareMatrix Corp., a public company based in Needham, Mass., plans to start construction this summer on the three-story, 77,000-square-foot building, said Louise Major, director of investor relations.

The facility, which will have studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, will be shaped like a figure eight, with two interior courtyards.

Major said the apartments will be intended for people who have what she described as "moderate to high income." She said the company will not accept Medicare patients at the facility.

The average monthly rent at CareMatrix facilities nationwide is $2,500 to $3,000 a month, she said.

The building will have an entrance on the east side of McMullen-Booth Road, between two office parks just south of Mease Countryside Hospital and Briar Creek Boulevard. Most of the parcel where the building will be constructed is behind the office buildings.

Adding a property to the tax rolls "is always a good thing," said Mayor Patrick Slevin, who said he looks forward to learning more about the company.

CareMatrix has 28 facilities for seniors across the nation, with another 30 under construction and another 45 in the development stage, Major said.

The company has five centers in Florida. The Safety Harbor facility will be the company's first in the Tampa Bay area.

Major said the company tends to open several centers close to each other, offering care ranging from independent living to extended care and skilled nursing.

She said no other sites have been chosen in the Tampa Bay area.

Safety Harbor has approved site plans for the project. Only routine administrative work remains before construction begins, said Ron Pianta, city planning director.

Construction could take one to two years, Major said.