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Published: Friday, 9/22/2006

Plan to close apartment complex in Sylvania forces seniors to hunt for new homes

BY KARAMAGI RUJUMBA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Ellen Wetzel had just switched to a one-bedroom, first-floor apartment at Crestview Club Apartments an independent and assisted-living facility on the Flower Hospital campus when she learned that the senior housing complex she has called home for six years is closing.

Ms. Wetzel, 91, a retired occupational health nurse, is one of 64 residents of the ProMedica Health Systems-owned apartment building who were told last week to find other housing options because the nonprofit health provider will stop residential operations at Crestview on June 30, 2007.

I am very sad to have to leave here, said Ms. Wetzel, who recently moved out of a fourth-floor apartment to avoid frequently riding the elevator. They just redid my apartment, and I have all new amenities. I am very sorry we are losing this place, she said.

Increasing maintenance costs, a competitive independent and assisted-living market in the Toledo area, and a low occupancy rate are some of the key factors that forced ProMedica to close the residential operations at Crestview, said Gary Cates, senior vice president for ProMedica continuing care services.

The door of Ellen Wetzel s apartment at Crestview is covered with photos that she will move to her new home. The retired nurse has high praise for the staff at the complex for seniors.
The door of Ellen Wetzel s apartment at Crestview is covered with photos that she will move to her new home. The retired nurse has high praise for the staff at the complex for seniors.
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Citing continuous vacancies and the inability to furnish apartments and rooms with comparable amenities at other such facilities, Mr. Cates said ProMedica has been underwriting losses for Crestview. ProMedica cannot continue its operation of the building, he said, because we wouldn t be serving the needs of our clients.

Built in 1959, Crestview, an expansive, six-story apartment building that sits on the sprawling campus of Flower Hospital in Sylvania, has been used for assisted living and retirement housing purposes since 1960, Mr. Cates said. ProMedica took over operation of the facility in 1996.

With a total of about 105 units, Crestview has been operating at only 60 percent occupancy for a number of years, Mr. Cates said. This is not an easy decision for us. We are in the business of independent housing, assisted-living, and taking care of people, but we have struggled to fill the building, he said.

Lake Park, another assisted living and skilled nursing facility on the Flower Hospital campus, will continue operations, Mr. Cates said.

The complex has been operating at about 60 percent occupancy for years, ProMedica says.
The complex has been operating at about 60 percent occupancy for years, ProMedica says.
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Standing in her living room yesterday, Ms. Wetzel looked out her window at the expansive swath of manicured grass, trees, and park benches. She said she would miss the friends she has made at Crestview.

I will always remember this place for the kindness of the staff and the concern they have had for me. They have been wonderful, she said, noting that when Paul, her husband, died six months ago, they treated me like family.

Ms. Wetzel has already started her move to West Park Place, a West Toledo independent living and assisted-care facility, where she expects to be settled next week. But not all of the Crestview residents have found another housing option yet, and that is why ProMedica made its announcement nine months ahead of time, Mr. Cates said.

We are working with our partners in the area to develop individual transition plans with each of our residents, he said.

Contact Karamagi Rujumba at: krujumba@theblade.com or 419-724-6064.



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