Kenner City Council approves plan to build NFL alumni-affiliated assisted living center in town _lowres

A rendering of the Inspired Living at Kenner facility, which is set for a March 28 grand opening. The facility in Kenner is among 33 planned for areas that are home to high concentrations of former NFL players. 

Kenner will become home to an expansive assisted living center that will specialize in treating memory loss and will be affiliated with a nonprofit dedicated to helping retired pro football players, the Kenner City Council has decided.

At its meeting Thursday, the council unanimously approved a plan for Validus Senior Living to build a 104,000-square-foot facility that can accommodate up to 160 residents on a 9-acre lot at Loyola and Vintage drives, adjacent to Ochsner Medical Center-Kenner.

When it’s completed, the “Inspired Living at Kenner” complex is to feature a memory-care clinic, a dog park, a swimming pool, a golf putting green, a walking path, ponds and a fishing pier — all of which helped convince city officials that they were getting more than the typical construction development offers.

“It’s a little more of a specialized facility than what we could consider regular assisted living,” said Councilman Dominick Impastato, who represents the district where the complex will be built. “It’s also going to have an aesthetic appeal that will improve the appearance of the community around it.”

The facility planned for Kenner is among 33 being built in areas that are home to NFL teams.

Validus Senior Living, of Florida, is working with the investment bank Piper Jaffray to spend $1.1 billion building the centers over the next five years.

The NFL Alumni Association has struck a partnership with Validus to provide services for retired football players who are in need of living assistance and memory-loss treatment. Branded as “Inspired Living,” the facilities are being built after the NFL and thousands of former players in April settled a class-action lawsuit accusing the league of unduly downplaying how dangerous repeated head injuries are.

Ground has been broken at one center outside of Orlando, less than two hours away from where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play. While the one in Kenner isn’t at that stage, a Validus spokeswoman said the group hopes to finish it by September 2016.

Despite the partnership with the NFL Alumni Association, neither Impastato nor Kenner Planning Department Director Jay Hebert anticipates that many ex-players will be members of the population at the local Inspired Living complex once it’s completed.

While former football pros will have a home there if they need it, the main building that can accommodate 100 residents and the memory-care wing accommodating another 60 will accept regular folks, as well, Impastato and Hebert said.

Validus operates a handful of other existing centers that aren’t affiliated with the NFL Alumni Association.

Kenner officials said they believe Validus chose Kenner to build a New Orleans-area Inspired Living center because of its proximity to the Ochsner Medical Center-Kenner campus as well as Interstate 10. The center also will sit on a lot that is large enough to have 110 parking spaces.

Validus is now in the process of purchasing the Kenner land from owner Robert Liljeberg, Hebert said.

Although Kenner already has four other assisted living centers, Hebert said the city should be as eager as Validus is for the new one to open.

“This is really a state-of-the-art facility,” Hebert said. “It’s been quite a while since anything like this has been built in Kenner with regards to assisted living facilities.”