Demand for senior housing prompts Bellaire expansion

Photo from the Bellaire Senior Living website. Bellaire Senior Living, 12621 Hale in Riverview, hopes to purchase the adjacent property pending zoning change approval for the construction of new senior housing.

Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW – Demand for senior housing has prompted Bellaire Senior Living to seek a zoning change to let it build 60 more units at 12525 Hale, currently the site of Modulus LLC.

Bellaire representative Joseph Bacall told the City Council at a Sept. 12 study session that the company’s waiting list is the impetus for a zoning change request from light industrial to multiple-family residential for the property, which borders Bellaire’s facility at 12621 Hale.

Bacall, son of owner Jacob Bacall, who has owned an operated the Bellaire for 22 years, said they have every intention of expanding their current facility.

“We have a need for it, and the actual market demands it, too,” Joseph Bacall said. “A survey shows all the surrounding (senior) communities, American House, Elmcroft and Forest View, show high occupancy, too.”

Elmcroft of Downriver, 19697 Allen Road in Brownstown Township; American House Senior Living Community, 20300 Fort St. in Riverview; and Forest View Assisted Living, 19341 Allen Road in Brownstown Township, offer independent and assisted living facilities.

Assisted living facilities are for seniors who can no longer live on their own, but who don’t need daily nursing care, while independent living centers provide safe senior environments for people able to live on their own.

Bellaire offers independent senior living with personal care services available as needed, including a memory care wing, in its current facility.

“Sometimes we get people that come in and they want to get a one-bedroom, and sometimes we have no room,” Bacall said. “We try to send them over to the competition, and they don’t have any room, so I know that there is demand for it.”

Bacall said Bellaire is at 98 percent occupancy, with a waiting list, and it is 30 days into their 90-day option to purchase the adjacent land pending the zoning change approval.

Community Development Director Dave Scurto said the planning commission reviewed the proposal in August, held a public hearing Sept. 1 and recommend the council approve the rezoning.

Scurto said two nearby businesses, Arnaldo’s Banquet Center, 18275 Quarry, and Belle Fountain Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, 18591 Quarry, submitted letters of support.

Scurto said if the City Council can approve the zoning change at its Sept. 19 meeting, an architect can begin the design and approval process, the current building can be demolished and the new residential construction begun.

Scurto said the Planning Commission will address specific site plans and Souheil Sabak of C.E. Raines will consult on engineering issues.

He said the proposal will not go before the Zoning Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals will address any needed variances.

Bacall said he hopes to break ground for the year-long construction of the three-story building in the spring. He said it would be similar to the current facility, with about 60 apartments on the more than one-acre property.

Councilman Thomas Coffey said it is encouraging to see new development.

“It’s refreshing to know that people want to spend money and expand in Riverview,” Coffey said. “We wish you well.”

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at