Large senior living community planned for East Cobb

A developer with close family ties to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson has filed plans to build a massive $200 million, 987-unit senior living facility on 54 acres of undeveloped land in east Cobb County.

Isakson Living, operated by the brother and a son of the senator, plans a 62-and-older community on Roswell Road, adjacent to East Cobb Park. The company runs a similar community in Stone Mountain called Park Springs, and it says the Cobb site will be a mix of independent and assisted living, along with dining, activities and entertainment.

“There’s significant need with folks aging in East Cobb, and this provides them an option to remain in the community,” said Kevin Isakson, director of sales and marketing for Isakson Living and the senator’s son.

The proposal will have to be approved by the zoning board and the board of commissioners. Because of the size, it will also require review by the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Atlanta Regional Commission. That means the county won’t be likely to vote on the project until the fall, according to county officials.

Isakson hopes to break ground on the facility as early as next summer, with the first phase completed by spring 2016.

A similar proposed facility in Buckhead hit a snag in 2011 when North Carolina-based BB&T bank accused Kevin Isakson; Edwin Andrew “Andy” Isakson, the senator’s brother; and their partner, David L. Barnhart, of “breach of contract” for failing to repay a $26.7 million loan the trio had taken out with Colonial Bank.

Isakson Living sought to construct Peachtree Hills Place, a 274-unit development, on 23 acres in Buckhead’s Peachtree Hills neighborhood. Neither party would comment on the case, which is still pending.

But Kevin Isakson said when the case is resolved, Isakson Living still plans to develop the Buckhead property as intended. The developers have secured financing for the East Cobb community, he added.

Population trends indicate Cobb could see its senior population rise in the coming years, according to county officials and market research provided by Isakson Living. Seniors 62 years and older are eligible for an exemption from school tax in Cobb, and the county is viewed as a favorable place for older, active adults, said Rob Hosack, head of Cobb Community Development.

The Marietta and Roswell areas have more than 50,000 residents over the age of 65, and by 2017 the area will need more than 850 independent senior living homes, according to estimates by Isakson Living.

The proposed site on 3540 Roswell Road will be developed over a 10-year period. About 800 of the units will be for independent living while the other 150 will be for health care. Plans show buildings with a maximum height of four-stories and about 21 acres left as undisturbed green space for residents.

Isakson Living said it plans to meet with homeowners and community groups in coming months to discuss the proposal. In the meantime, more information is at www.isaksonliving-eastcobb.com.

John Fabbrini president of the Glenside Homeowners Association, said his neighborhood, which borders the proposed site, has not been contacted about the plans. Fabbrini is reserving judgement until he learns more, but his initial concern is about the increased traffic. Isakson Living estimates there would be about 2,000 trips in and out of the facility each day - comparable to a neighborhood of single-family homes.

“The potential for 1,000 people living there at first blush is a little unnerving,” Fabbrini said, “but I would want to know a lot more.”

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