Berks firms tackle senior community project

By - Last modified: September 11, 2013 at 10:42 AM

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Artist rendering
Artist rendering

Hollenbach Construction Inc. of Boyertown started construction work on the recently approved Keystone Villa at Ephrata senior living community to be built on the site of the former Artworks at Doneckers.

The $12 million construction project should finish by fall 2014, said Glenn Ebersole, strategic vice president of business development and marketing for Hollenbach.

Demolition of existing buildings is underway, as is selective demolition within the four-story brick building that once was the home of the Eby Shoe Co. but will now be adaptively reused for senior living apartments, Ebersole said.

"They were very interested in finding an urban setting," he said. "Artworks was a block away from the downtown."

Keystone Villa at Ephrata will be home to about 160 new residents. The four-story residence will consist of 139 apartments: 78 independent living units, 43 personal care and 18 memory care units. The project is about 150,000 square feet and includes the adaptive reuse of the existing four-story building – about 35,000 square feet – and 115,000 square feet of new construction.

Hollenbach Construction is the leader of the design/build team with Muhlenberg Greene Architects Ltd. of Reading as the architect and McCarthy Engineering Associates Inc. of West Lawn as the civil engineering firm.

"The project is based around a circa 1930s historical factory building that started out as a shoe factory and has undergone several uses," said Scott Graham, AIA, associate project architect of Muhlenberg Greene Architects. "We are rehabbing the existing four-story factory building and keeping the existing structural frame intact. That's the challenge for this project."

While the firm has designed similar buildings, this is the first time it is incorporating a new facility into an existing structure, Graham said.

Since the facility is for independent living, assisted living and memory care uses, it accommodates an entire spectrum of residents, he added.

The project lead is John R. Hill, AIA, head of the design team, which includes Graham and Robert Conklin, AIA, associate project architect.

Keystone Villa is a Berks County-based retirement community with locations in Fleetwood and Douglassville, Graham said.

The existing structure and irregular site provided opportunities for features unique to this Keystone Villa, such as the prominent second floor terrace and dynamic three-story atrium space, as well as its central location and historical context in Downtown Ephrata, Graham said. Amenities will include outdoor terraces, multiple activity centers, a fitness center, outdoor courtyard, beauty salon and library.

Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it. Brian also has a strong interest in health and fitness. He works part-time as a personal trainer at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem and earned his personal fitness trainer certification from World Instructor Training Schools. He loves to run and will be competing in his first half-marathon on Nov. 23 to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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