Commissioner says sterling estates sets the gold standard
by Jon Gillooly
November 19, 2012 12:25 AM | 3690 views | 11 11 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Sterling Estates Executive Director Marshall Gill stands with Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott in the courtyard of the main residence building. <br> Photo by Emily Barnes
From left, Sterling Estates Executive Director Marshall Gill stands with Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott in the courtyard of the main residence building.
Photo by Emily Barnes
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EAST COBB — The $22.5 million Sterling Estates Senior Living Community on Lower Roswell Road is unique in Cobb County, Commissioner Bob Ott said.

“This is the very first residential senior living project that the Board of Commissioners has approved next to a neighborhood,” Ott said.

Ott said seniors tell him they want to live close to their doctor, dentist and grocery store.

“It’s been really hard up until these guys came along to figure out how to do that without severely impacting the neighborhood,” he said.

Sterling Estates boasts a main, 96,000-square-foot building that holds 90 suites that average 514 square feet, in addition to six cottage duplexes.

The two- and three-bedroom duplexes, intended for more independent and active seniors, rent for an average of $5,800 a month, Steve Sodel of east Cobb, one of the project’s four owners, told the Journal in March. The duplexes will feature their own two-car garages, kitchens with granite countertops, hardwood floors and covered porches with ceiling fans.

The assisted living units in the main building average $4,300 a month. Many rooms will include walk-in closets, with some having their own patio overlooking the development’s courtyard.

The assisted living building will include a nurse’s station and barber and beauty shop with its own nail salon.

Residents of the duplexes will also be able to use many of the features of the assisted living building, including the 5,000-square-foot wellness center.

The wellness area will include an indoor pool, heated to 92 degrees, along with fitness equipment aimed at a senior audience, said Marshall Gill, an owner who will also be the community’s executive director. The machines will include one that assesses a user’s risk of falling and others designed to help them become better able to prevent falls.

“We have services available as they age in place that they can stay here if they need to,” Gill said. “They can be as independent as they want to be or they can have help here in the main residence. The cottages are truly independent.”

Sterling Estates has set the gold standard in Cobb, Ott said.

“(Developers) come in and they’ve said, ‘we want to do senior living, we want to do like a Sterling Estates, but we’re going to do it better,” he said. “I’m, like, ‘OK, then you guys obviously haven’t been inside (Sterling Estates).’”

Ott hosted his town hall meeting last Tuesday at Sterling Estates to showcase the development, accompanied by state Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-east Cobb), who chairs the House’s Health and Human Services Committee. Cooper said there are four seniors coming into the state for every young person.

“We are an aging state, and especially here in Cobb County, in which we have such a good tax break,” Cooper said. “Seniors want to age in place, preferably they want to age in their home, and if they can’t age in their home, they want to go somewhere close to their home.”

Ott said the way typical zonings work is that a developer comes to terms on a price for a piece of property with a rough idea of what he or she plans to do with it and runs the idea by the commissioner.

“There’s not a whole lot of design work that goes in ahead of time, because they don’t want to spend a whole lot of money and then have the project not approved,” Ott said.

When going through a zoning change, a number of promises will be made to the surrounding neighborhoods, such as there being a certain number of trees to be saved, but when the design and engineering work is drawn up, the plans may find that those promises can’t be fulfilled, Ott said. But in the case of Sterling Estates, the developers used software to draft a proposal that matched the final product.

“If I showed you the picture that they submitted with the zoning, it is exactly the same building,” Ott said. “We haven’t done that before. … It creates a great relationship between the developers and the community because there had been a lot of distrust.”

Gill said the layout of the land helped make the development attractive to neighbors.

“The way … the land fell, it helped us to kind of put the big building down in the valley to hide it from Lower Roswell Road,” Gill said. “By putting those cottages along the road, it made it look like an east Cobb subdivision.”

Gill said residents have been pleased not to have to look at a busy street or businesses from their windows.

“It was a great working relationship with the county,” he said. “We took a big risk going almost full fledge in planning to the planning stage before they got it approved. We were willing to take that chance because we knew that something of this magnitude was needed in east Cobb for a new alternative senior living alternative to pick from, that nothing has been built here in 14 years.”

Gill said his firm is considering building another such facility in Georgia, possibly in Cobb County, at a yet to be determined location.
Comments
(11)
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A-NON
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November 19, 2012
People, people. ALL cities eventually get old. There will ALWAYS be vacancies, old stuff, etc. in EVERY city. What do you do? Have a government takeover of any property that is over 25 years old? Run the citizens out because some don't have money? MK rants every day. It is her hobby. Marietta, Cobb County, East Cobb, West Cobb, Smyrna are no different than any other place--property values are in the gutter and city or county officials are not responsibile for that. I agree about not paying school taxes if you don't hae kids in school.
Hotinatlanta
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November 19, 2012
Why are you all commenting about Smyrna? This article has NOTHING to do w/Smyrna. It's EAST COBB. Also, I agree that the prices for this new senior development are outrageous. I don't know of any senior citizen who could afford it. As far as school taxes, I don't think you should have to pay any school taxes if you don't have any kids in public school. Once you reach 65 , you've paid your fair share already. There are a lot of high-end subdivisions in Cobb County that can support school taxes just fine. Mr. Kirdendoll is correct about "what happened" to our "Platinum Triangle". Property values have not risen in our condo community since the 1980's. Surrounding us are empty office buildings, abandoned homes, run-down shopping centers and roads full of pot holes but yet our property taxes go up.
anonymous
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November 19, 2012
Look a little closer. There is only one person commenting on Smyrna and we all know who she is. It's old and tire (or is it her?) and we don't even bother to reaad her rants anymore.
Be Careful
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November 19, 2012
An average 514 square feet?

First off, in no way shape or form can they call a 514 square foor closet a "suite".

Second, $5,800 a month? That is outrageous.

Third. The residents of Smyrna are totally in control of who their Mayor is. Get involved.
Smyrna Resident
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November 19, 2012
“It was a great working relationship with the county,” he said.

I live in Smyrna. Will someone please explain what "working relationship" is? I understand "dictatorial regime" but I'm not familiar with working relationships.
OMG2
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November 19, 2012
What seniors can afford such high-cost living?
Tax concerns
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November 19, 2012
You are definitely right there. Cobb County is the meca for seniors who do not want to pay taxes. This is why we are in such a bind with our schools. I have nothing against seniors but people don't seem to realize that this hurts our school taxes. Everyone should pay in. IF you have $ 5800 per month to spend on rent, you have money to pay toward taxes. I am happy we are making nice living communities for seniors. As our schools decline, they will wish they would have contributed to school taxes. Makes me sad that politicians and seniors don't care about the future of our kids or CCSD. Think about this, what happens as the school district declines, people move out to other districts and all you have are minorities and seniors? Home values decline and then you have nothing!
@ Tax concerns
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November 19, 2012
The landlord pays property taxes.

ANY senior citizen RENTING an apartment, a home, space at an assisted living facility, etc... in Cobb County is paying property taxes through their rent payments.

The same is true for residents residing in apartment complexes.

Property owners pass the property tax expense on to their renters.

By the way... with SPLOST, seniors paying any sales tax do assist with the funding of capital expenses for our roads, parks, and schools.
government run....
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November 19, 2012
The previous writer forgot to mention that Smyrna's low income senior housing, Galleria Manor, was built by us, the hardworking taxpayers, with stimulus money!

I imagine Sterling Estates was PRIVATE!

See the difference?
mark kirkendoll
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November 19, 2012
Agree! Smart people, smart community. I drive Lower Roswell regularly & see good growth. The folks there are protecting their neighborhoods, house values and quality of life.

Across the street, $400,000's to $800,000's new residential.

Makes me quite sad, that I have to stop for groceries in East Cobb (Whole Foods, Trade Joes & Fresh Market), before returning to the darkness of Smyrna!

WHY is noone (but me) concerned about lack of growth in Smyrna?

Why are people allowing the Smyrna mayor & council continue to run businesses OUT of Smyrna?

The one area of Smyrna that HAD potential is the Spring Road/Cobb Parkway corridor in the shadow of the Galleria-,.. it SHOULD be gleaming, glistening highrises, mixed use, urban district, etc. !

What is it today after 26 years rule by a corrupt city mayor? This once potential high dollar area is now home to the Galleria Manor(LOW income senior apartments), a mega Race Trac gas station(the cities most PRIZED development!!), smoke shops, mexican resturants, latino filled low income apartments, rundown outdated, uncared for townhomes , latino churches, low valued '70's ranch homes ,... all as a 'gateway' to Smyrna!!

And I'M the problem????

Wake up Smyrna homeowners!

WHY would anyone support the mayor- LOOK at what he's done to Smyrna!!
Racist Much?
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November 19, 2012
Wow, what happened to Ms. Kirkendoll?

Did Speedy Gonzalez step on her flowers?
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