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West End, Clark Atlanta University Welcome New Senior Living Complex

Senior citizens and college students seem unlikely neighbors, but with the completion of a new senior living complex quickly approaching, the college kids better make way for their elders.

The senior living complex is to be called The Veranda at University Homes. The complex will be located in Atlanta's historical West End district at 130 Lawshe Street SW.

"There is a master-planned redevelopment for that area," said Rick White, a public relations counselor for The Integral Group. "Redevelopment consists of the senior living environment, for-sale residential units, mixed-income rental community, commercial space and recreational space."

The new complex is an effort to create a college town environment that will transform the three neighborhoods that surround the Atlanta University Center schools and the former University Homes. The senior living complex is the first phase of revitalization.

Morehouse School of Medicine will also be a partner on the senior housing.

Slated to open in April, The Veranda at University Homes is a part of the Grady Hope VI Revitalization plan. The revitalization plan includes the building of a new high performing elementary school, a state of the art performing arts center and a YMCA early childhood development center.

The complex is said to include amenities such as a business/computer center, a community center, a fitness center, gazebo, library, and theater and picnic area.

The Veranda at University Homes is proposed as a 62 and over age restricted community. The complex will consist of a total of 100 residential units including one and two bedroom units.

The complex is one of many senior living facilities with the same name, all owned and managed by The Integral Group.

But the idea of building a senior living complex next to a college campus still seems a little abnormal to many, especially students who attend neighboring Clark Atlanta University. The complex is located just a block from one of the university's on-campus dormitories.

"I really don't understand why they chose to build that here," said Clark Atlanta student Adam Vann. "Of all places they could have picked, next to a college campus? It doesn't make sense. We could have had more on-campus housing or something."

However, The Veranda isn't the first senior living complex to be built in the vicinity of the University Center. The Atrium at Collegetown has been in the area for a few years now. It is located near the Morehouse College campus at Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard. The Veranda at Collegetown is another senior living complex located near the AUC.

"I don't know how comfortable I would be living that close to a college campus," said Vernon Jenkins, an elderly resident of Berkeley Park. "I think all the noise and traffic would be a bit disturbing."

Aside from initial shock of the new building from students, community members are welcoming the new senior living complex.

"I know a lot of the students from the AUC go and volunteer at the other senior homes," said West End resident Margaret Taylor. "Maybe they'll help out at this new facility. They may not like the idea now but it might not be that bad in the end."

Employees from The Veranda at Collegetown said those interested in moving into the University Homes complex are encouraged to visit their facility. The Veranda at University Homes is currently accepting applicants for its waitlist. Future residents must be preapproved before being added to the waitlist. Once preapproval is accepted, there is a $100 security deposit fee.

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