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Blasting Necessary to Clear Way for New Providence 360-Unit Care Center

Mike Neavill

Friday, February 14, 2014 • 5:48pm

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Demolition of the former K-Line building at the corner of South Street and Mountain Avenue is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Then, according to borough construction official Keith Lynch, property owner Erickson Living has received the necessary permits to conduct blasting for 120 days.

“The existing mountain top is solid rock, and they will have to blast into that to put in foundations and underground parking,” Lynch said.

Dan Dunne, communications director for Erickson Living, said there will be five interconnected buildings on the property and a three story underground parking facility.

The property will have 275 individual living apartment homes. One of the buildings will provide assisted living, memory care, long-term care and short-term rehab for 85 residents. Dunne said the general contractor will be on site next week.

The continuing-care retirement community will be called Lantern Hill and a sales office will open in the spring in a next door building now under renovation.

Although difficult to forecast with precision, Dune said the company expects to open the care center in the second half of 2015.

Dunne said amenities will include social and recreational programs, a fitness center, an in-door swimming pool and a wide range of other services that includes food service and restaurants.

As in its other retirement centers, Lantern Hill will draw heavily from area high-schoolers for part-time employment, mainly in food service.

“We provide scholarships to students who meet the eligibility requirements who work in dining services,” Dunne said.

According to its website, Erickson Living is no stranger to creating continuing care retirement centers. Founded in 1983, the company has 19 campuses located in nine states.

The 21-acre property is located at 535 Mountain Ave., which was previously the site of K-Line Transportation and, prior to that, Allstate Insurance.

In April 2010, an application by Lutheran Social Ministries to construct a 395-unit continuing care retirement community was denied by the borough’s Board of Adjustment.

That denial led LSM to begin legal proceedings in New Jersey Superior Court where property owner H T Mountain Avenue Associates successfully applied to the court to intervene in the litigation.

The court granted a summary judgment in favor of H T Mountain dismissing LSM from the litigation and issuing a consent order to the Board of Adjustment to consider an application for development of the property by H T Mountain.

In June 2011, the board approved a less ambitious plan for what is now known as Lantern Hill.

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