Downtown Joliet senior housing complex a hit
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org April 19, 2012 9:10PM
Senior Suites of Joliet property manager Amy Sanchez (right) smiles as resident Lois Streb (far left) meets Sanchez's mother Virginia Bradley (second from left) and niece Olivia Blankenship, 1, during an open house at Senior Suites of Joliet Wednesday, April 18, 2012, at 215 N. Ottawa St. in Joliet. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:50AM
JOLIET — Ask Sally Modesto how she likes living in downtown Joliet and she’ll lead you to her sixth-floor window.
The view from her Senior Suites apartment includes the open-air terrace that sits atop the Joliet Area Historical Museum.
“All summer, they have entertainment and I have a box seat,” the 79-year-old former Algonquin resident said. “I hear the music, and I see the dancing. It’s great. I’m happy. This is me.”
Senior Suites held an open house Wednesday for Amy Sanchez, who was hired in late January as property manager for the senior lifestyle community. Sanchez, who is president of the Collins Street Neighborhood Council, grew up in Joliet.
“They were very pleased to have someone from Joliet,” Sanchez said of her new bosses.
The goal of Senior Lifestyle Corp., which owns and operates Senior Suites, always has been to be a part of the community, said Lisa Reed, vice president of operations.
“Amy’s presence is going to continue to further that relationship,” Reed said.
Joliet City Councilman Don Fisher attended the open house to support the project and Sanchez.
“She’s the perfect fit for Senior Suites,” he said. “She’s a people person, and she truly cares about her community.”
The 90-unit, independent-living facility at 215 N. Ottawa St. opened in December 2007. Residents have to be 62 to live in the units, which have full kitchens and include utilities. Each apartment has an emergency pull cord for safety.
Only two apartments are vacant in the complex, which cost $18.8 million to build and is housed in a former YMCA that dates to 1927. Building renovations modernized the interior while preserved many original architectural details.
Sanchez said marketing the senior living units will be a pleasure.
“The product sells itself because they’re beautiful apartments,” she said.
Reed said people were skeptical when the project was proposed.
“The downtown market, when we built, was still evolving,” she said. “The gentrification process was still being developed.”
But now, the skepticism has disappeared, she said.
“I think we’ve done very well,” Reed said.
Resident Thelma Dickerson, 64, who helped show a handicapped-accessible unit during the open house, agreed. Dickerson, who is in a wheelchair, loves living in Senior Suites and downtown Joliet.
“I can move around the neighborhood, and I can go up and down in the building,” the former Chicago resident said. “I go to the farmers market when it’s open. I go to the stores downtown. Sometimes I take myself out to eat. And I go to the library. And that’s very exciting.”