Groundbreaking for new Winchester House nursing home to be delayed

 
 
Updated 8/7/2018 11:14 AM
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  • Groundbreaking for a new Winchester House on Route 45 in Mundelein is expected to be extended to Dec. 31.

      Groundbreaking for a new Winchester House on Route 45 in Mundelein is expected to be extended to Dec. 31. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Groundbreaking for a new Winchester House skilled care nursing home likely will be delayed until the end of the year. Lake County officials are considering a second change to an agreement with Transitional Care of Lake County LLC that includes an extension of the anticipated start of construction from June 22 to Dec. 31.

"We've been waiting for them to break ground. They had an investor who backed out," County Administrator Barry Burton said. That means the Rosemont-based company, which has operated the county-owned property on Milwaukee Avenue and Winchester Road in Libertyville since Aug. 1, 2015, will continue at that location for another six months.

The county board's financial and administrative committee will consider the change Wednesday, with the full board expected to vote at its regular meeting Aug. 14.

A new investor is in place, Burton added, but a delay in final approval of financing by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has prompted the request for a second change and delayed the start of the project.

"It's been a series of issues," Burton said. "The good news is we're still on track to build a new, skilled (nursing home) facility in Lake County."

Mundelein officials in March 2017 approved plans for a $30 million facility for 185 patients on Route 45 east of Route 83 for those needing long-term nursing or Alzheimer's care or rehab services.

At the time, it was anticipated the facility would be built and open in 2018. The new anticipated move-in date is May 2020.

Brad Haber of Innovative Health LLC, the project manager, said the company remains dedicated to developing the facility.

"They need a little more time," said county board member Steve Carlson, who chairs the Health and Community Services Committee and is on the Winchester House Advisory Board. "It was looking rough there but I think they've recovered."

Time is of the essence for Transitional Care to complete a new building or vacate the current one as the mechanical systems at Winchester House are beyond their useful life and the county is liable for potential costly repair or replacement.

Winchester House opened in 1847 as a poor farm but evolved into a nursing home with 24-hour skilled care. Faced with fewer residents and a substantial deficit, the county in 2014 decided to get out of the nursing home business.

As landlord, Lake County has provided subsidies to run the facility.

The first change in the agreement, in January 2017, extended the term from three to four years, eliminated rent payments and extended incentive payments of $32,000 per month.

Once those payments end, according to the proposed second change, the county will pay up to $734,000 to offset continuing operating losses at Winchester House. However, no payment will be made unless construction begins by Dec. 31, according to the proposal.

That new fund will increase the total county subsidy through May 2020 from $6.9 million to $7.64 million.

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