$30M Lebanon retirement community partly funded through energy program

Indianapolis-based Leo Brown Group is proposing a $30 million, 142-unit assisted living community on the west side of Armstrong Way, just south of the Franklin Road-Ohio 123 intersection, in Lebanon.
Indianapolis-based Leo Brown Group is proposing a $30 million, 142-unit assisted living community on the west side of Armstrong Way, just south of the Franklin Road-Ohio 123 intersection, in Lebanon.

Owners of a $30 million assisted living complex to be developed in Lebanon have been cleared to take advantage of a program designed to encourage energy-efficient building.

The Warren County Port Authority and Lebanon City Council established an energy special improvement district for Traditions of Lebanon, a retirement community to be built on the city's west side.

Indianapolis-based Leo Brown Group is expected to use Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to cover $17 million of the project cost in semi-annual assessments of $230,000-$289,000 added to property taxes over 30 years.

The $17 million, through Petros PACE Finance Trust, includes more than $7.7 million in lighting and improvements and just under $7.9 million in interest.

“It’s like their mortgage,” explained Warren County Auditor Matt Nolan.

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PACE financing was also used in Warren County for development of a new credit union in South Lebanon, and the city of Lebanon and Turtlecreek Twp. have used it for other projects, Nolan added.

Traditions of Lebanon was originally expected to include a 142-unit assisted living complex, including 30 units for memory care and 13 homes for independent living.

Documents obtained last week indicate the scope of the project changed. The 170,000-square-foot senior living community will now include 48 independent living homes, 64 assisted living units and 30 memory care units.

The Schueler Group managed the 18-acre site, just south of the Franklin Road-Ohio 123 intersection with Armstrong, for a syndicate of 20 owners, including Chairman and CEO Mike Schueler.

Until now, officials said grading issues have delayed development.

Otterbein senior living community’s main retirement campus, including a new assisted-living wing, is four miles away in Turtlecreek Twp.

Energy savings from the Brown project are anticipated from HVAC improvements, LED lighting, energy-efficient windows and doors and the “building envelope”.

Last week, the authority board and city council voted to set up the district for the project, already to benefit from a 10-year, 50-percent tax abatement on the $10.5 million assisted living-memory care building in the complex.

RELATED: 10-year tax abatement on assisted living portion of Lebanon retirement community

RELATED: Warren County agrees to $1 million tax break for Lebanon assisted living project

Even with the abatement, the development is expected to generate $250,000 a year in additional property tax.

On Tuesday, the city council also capped permit fees at $100,000.

PACE loans, also available to homeowners, are for longer terms than other types of commercial financing, Nolan said.

Nolan said the energy savings from the projects were “pretty small” and PACE loans were “more about cash flow.”

The financing comes with a 5.7 percent interest rate.

“Additionally, the savings that they will realize through their utility bills throughout the life of the energy efficient improvements will add up,” said Matt Schnipke, Warren County economic development director and port authority deputy director.

Annual energy savings are projected to be $24,649, according to project records.

The development would be the latest since the section of Armstrong, leading off Ohio 123 down to Ohio 63, was completed.

RELATED: Otterbein redeveloping retirement campus across from new 4,500-home community

“The city is excited to see this project moving forward,” Lebanon City Manager Scott Brunka said. “The developer has indicated that they plan on moving into construction this summer.”

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