Meyer Najem Debuts New Approach to Senior Living in First Development in Westfield’s Grand Park Village

IMG_7495-300 COVER PHOTOBy Julie Devine


As the first economic development next door to Westfield’s new 360 acre Grand Park sports complex, Wellbrooke of Westfield explored new paths. Literally, road work around the development on 186th Street required construction crews to detour through frequently changing routes. Figuratively, the 65,000 square foot assisted living/skilled care facility, which opened in May, rejects the perception of a “dreaded nursing home” and instead creates a resort-like atmosphere with amenities like restaurant-style dining, a movie theater, game room, spa, and rustic design details.


Developing Roads

IMG_7556-300Meyer Najem Construction, headquartered in Fishers, negotiated the construction contract for the $9 million Wellbrooke of Westfield project, designed by Indianapolis’ American Structurepoint Inc. for developer Mainstreet Property Group of Carmel. Although Meyer Najem had worked with Mainstreet on other senior living facilities, this was the first two story model, with assisted living on the second floor and skilled care on the first floor.

Accessing the site ended up posing more challenges than new design aspects, however. “As we started our job, the City of Westfield was in the process of building 186th Street,” said Adam Filler, LEED Green Associate and Meyer Najem’s Project Manager. “We had to work hand-in-hand with them to gain access to our site so we didn’t disrupt their activities but were able to keep going on ours.”

Before the City of Westfield paved 186th Street, they put in a stone road leading to the Wellbrooke site. That allowed Meyer Najem to deal with Westfield’s high water table early in their process. “We had to design our footings to not only accommodate the two story structure, but also to incorporate under-drains to route the groundwater away from the building,” Filler said.

IMG_7575-300Once the City of Westfield finished 186th Street, the State of Indiana started an extension to an adjacent stretch of Wheeler Road. To allow continued access to the construction site, the city paved the main road through Grand Park, which is still under development with Meyer Najem as construction manager.

“Just another day in construction,” Filler joked. “We had to juggle around our deliveries and make sure they knew where they were coming in, and make sure the tenant knew where they were gaining access and when they’d be able to switch over to their main access off Wheeler Road.”

To avoid conflicts between the road work and Wellbrooke’s construction, “We were able to get the earthwork contractor that was building the road (Crider & Crider, Inc., of Indianapolis) to do our mass excavation, and the company that paved 186th Street (E & B Paving, Inc., of Indianapolis) to pave our parking lot,” Filler explained. That allowed the subcontractors to handle their own coordination between the two projects.


Hub of Activity

IMG_7610-300Construction still continues across the street at Grand Park, but once that facility opens next spring, it will provide additional opportunities for Wellbrooke residents. “Grand Park will be the center of social activity in Westfield for decades to come,” said Dennis Dechow, Mainstreet’s Vice President of Development. “We wanted our residents to be involved in the new community.”

The sprawling park complex, designed for youth and adult sports, features 26 outdoor baseball and softball diamonds; 31 fields for soccer, football, rugby, field hockey, and lacrosse; and two indoor facilities for field and diamond sports.

With a view out over Grand Park, Wellbrooke residents will be able to walk the trails and watch games. “[The location] allows inter-generational interaction,” Filler said. “Residents will be able to breathe more life into their rehab.”

Wellbrooke is the first occupant in the PUD development surrounding Grand Park, which will eventually include multi-family dwellings; dining, retail, and entertainment venues; and a recreational lake.


A New Paradigm

IMG_7516-300Wellbrooke’s building offers 70 suites for physical, long-term, and rehabilitative care and 30 assisted living apartments. To create the resort-like atmosphere, the exterior façade features stone and the inside includes wood accents and tall ceilings.

Residents and their families can use the outdoor fire pit surrounded by a stone inlay wall. “All of the courtyards have a ton of plantings to make it really feel like you’re bringing the elements of nature in,” Filler said.

In addition to restaurant-style dining areas, the facility offers a café with WiFi and two pubs. “They’ve got a lot of different areas that allow you to feel like you’re in a small marketplace,” Filler said. “You could go to the pub and grab a drink while you wait for a table, rather than everyone sitting down and then they wheel out your food.”

To create an authentic feel in the upstairs pub, a reclaimed door sits under the granite-top bar. “If you turn one of the older reclaimed doors sideways, it has a bunch of paneling that makes it look like custom woodwork,” Filler explained.

IMG_7696-300In the skilled-care areas, instead of the large station nurses typically sit behind, Wellbrooke features areas for quick note-taking and a table with a bench so nurses can sit down and talk to patients and families. In addition to looking more welcoming, “It’s more compact and allows more flow,” Filler said.

Throughout the facility, Filler noted features “you typically wouldn’t see in senior living facilities.” According to the traditional paradigm, “Everything seemed stiff with real plain colors, more designed around the ability to disinfect and clean. This takes into consideration how patients would like to live, as well as the functionality.”

Zeke Turner, CEO of Mainstreet, noted in a press release prior to the facility’s grand opening, “Our goal with Wellbrooke of Westfield is to create a unique center where seniors can receive the quality care they expect while living in a place they can really enjoy. This is a meaningful paradigm shift and just one of the many centers we are building to transform the industry across the United States.”

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