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DENTON, TX-Groundbreaking for the 36-unit Autumn Leaves of Denton will take place on Friday, marking developer LaSalle Group Inc.’s eighth assisted living residence in North Texas. Meanwhile, the company has another center under construction in Fort Worth, with two more on the drawing board for Houston and several planned for Chicago.

Autumn Leaves of Denton at 2505 Brinker Rd. is scheduled for a March 2010 opening. Meanwhile, Autumn Leaves of Fort Worth is also scheduled to open in early 2010. These two facilities will join those already in operation throughout North Texas in Arlington, Carrollton, Flower Mound, Fossil Creek, Grapevine, McKinney and Richardson/North Garland.

Mitchell Warren of the Dallas-based developer tells GlobeSt.com that the area is ideal for development of assisted living centers, which specialize in Alzheimer’s and memory care. “There’s high demand and low supply in this area,” he adds.

LaSalle Group has plans to launch construction on two more Autumn Leaves-branded facilities in the Houston area. Warren says if all goes according to plan, the company should begin construction on a site in The Woodlands, TX in October and then in Sugar Land, TX in December. More are planned for Chicago as well, he adds. Lake Superior Contracting is the contractor.

He explains that the projects average approximately 26,000 square feet and are single-story construction with two outdoor courtyards. Land requirements average approximately three to four acres. The average cost to build is $8 million and upon completion, LaSalle Group affiliates run the facilities. Locations near or next to medical centers, in suburban areas, are much desired. “We look at ageing populations and adult children,” Warren adds. “An adult child would move a parent to a facility of this type near where we live, so we look for areas with adult children as well.”

LaSalle has been building its Autumn Leaves-branded centers at a fairly steady clip, even with the economic downturn. Warren says the company is building approximately the same number of facilities this year as in 2008, but once the capital markets unfreeze, more will come out of the ground and online.

“We feel this industry, especially the memory care niche, is underserved,” he adds. “Once the markets open up, we’ll continue to grow more each year.”

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