Senior housing complex plans on hold over Palatine fire chief's concerns

Plans for a 102-unit senior complex on Euclid Avenue in Palatine are on hold amid village council concerns over whether ambulance service could be provided to the property in a timely manner.

Grandbrier of Palatine would be on nearly 5 acres on Euclid across the street from Harper College. The seniors complex would occupy a site where National Technical Systems operated until moving in January.

But Palatine Fire Chief Scott Andersen raised concern at Monday's village council session about paramedics being unable to reach Grandbrier residents fast enough in medical emergencies. He said Palatine has a six-minute, 30-second benchmark for ambulance response times, which would unlikely be achieved for the Grandbrier because it's on the periphery of the department's coverage area.

Village council members agreed to table the Grandbrier proposal. They said Grandbrier representatives will have an opportunity to meet with Andersen in an effort to devise an acceptable plan for medical staffing capable of assisting residents 24 hours a day and bridging any ambulance gap in emergencies.

"What level of service would I need as a comfort level within that facility?" Andersen said. "That would be an equivalent of advanced life-support level of service that you would get with certified paramedics in the state of Illinois."

Under the plan, the former National Technical Systems building would be demolished to accommodate the assisted living and memory care facility. There would be a three-story building with 70 assisted-living rental units and a one-story section with 32 apartments, including three companion suites designed for seniors with dementia.

Grandbrier Senior Living development director Chris Rintz said after the meeting that he'd want to meet with Andersen as soon as possible. He said the company does not have an alternative site in Palatine and that the village has "profound need" for the proposed upscale, private-pay facility.

Rintz, who is Winnetka's village president, told the Palatine council that the plan already called for 24-hour-a-day, state-qualified medical professionals on site. He said registered nurses would be on duty 16 hours a day, with other coverage from licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants.

Councilman Brad Helms said Rintz understood the elected officials' concerns.

"It does come down to the health and safety of those folks," Helms said. "They're going to become our residents. And we want to make sure they're taken care of."

Grandbrier of Palatine's amenities would include a spa and massage room, hair salon, bistro, a private physician office, formal dining room, library, computer laboratory, art gallery and theater chapel.

  This building would be demolished to make way for a 102-unit senior complex on Euclid Avenue across the street from Harper College in Palatine. Bob Susnjara/
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