Belmont Wins Approval for its Cutting-Edge Facility Near the Shops at Merrick Park
When it comes to accommodating its elderly population, Coral Gables has a commendable record. In everything from taking care of isolated seniors during the COVID crisis, to its adult education programs, to the luxurious Palace assisted-senior living facility a block from Miracle Mile, the Gables earns high grades for its cognizance of senior needs.
Now the city has approved a senior living complex adjacent to the Shops at Merrick Park: Belmont Village. Slated to begin construction later this year, the “village” is being launched in partnership with Baptist Health South Florida. It will be a mixed-use development, with 18,388 square feet of retail and commercial space on the ground floor, and 232 private apartments for “independent living, assisted living and memory care” in 10 stories above.
Besides the quality of the accommodations, Belmont Village will house an array of amenities that make it feel more like a college campus than a home for the aged. These include multiple dining venues, a sports lounge, theater, arts parlor, library, beauty salon, screening room, and music room, as well as a “great room” and “town hall” for Belmont’s social enrichment programs, designed to keep residents physically, socially and mentally active.
“We got to know Baptist when they were acquiring the property next to the Shops,” said Patricia Will, CEO of Houston-based Belmont Village Senior Living, a company she co-founded in 1997 to build retirement centers with best practices for seniors “in everything from neurology to nutrition.” She says she founded the company, which now has 31 operating properties, with “the idea of embracing life-long learning.”
With the addition of Baptist as a partner, she says, “we can take the subject of health and wellness promotion for seniors to another level.” When approved by the city commission last month, the only caveat in the unanimous vote was the insistence by Vice Mayor Vince Lago that the trees portrayed in the renderings provide an actual canopy. “They won’t be saplings,” said Will. “We take the landscaping seriously.”