Less than a year after exiting Medford, Bonaventure Senior Living is eyeing a return.
The Salem-based firm plans to build a senior community on the southeast corner of East McAndrews and Springbrook roads.
Late last year, Bonaventure sold Arbor Place, an assisted-living community in east Medford, along with 11 other senior housing communities in Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Nevada for $302 million.
With capital in hand, Bonaventure Senior Living wants to turn part of an undeveloped, sloping hayfield into a continuing care community.
The first hurdle was cleared Thursday night when the Medford Planning Commission recommended a broad zoning designation for a 5.28-acre parcel that is part of a 9-acre property.
The General Land Use Plan change now moves along to the City Council for a vote in June.
Once the broader change is in place, another zone change would clear the way for a medium-sized senior community.
Zoning and other entitlement approvals are anticipated by the end of the year, said Jay Harlan of CSA Planning, who is representing Bonaventure Senior Living.
"The lack of growth and demand in senior housing during the recession had a lot to do with it," said Jeff Chamberlain, who has developed and managed senior communities throughout the state. "People couldn't sell houses at the prices they expected to and that slowed things for a while. You can only absorb a certain amount of senior housing within a certain time, and it takes continuous growth. We've been static and stagnant for the past six or seven years."
Wyndhaven Properties of Beaverton acquired the property from the descendents of Clara Ditsworth for $3.2 million in October 2005. The commercial property firm has been actively seeking a buyer for several years.
Bonaventure did not respond to repeated telephone messages. The company operates 21 senior housing communities in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Accord to its website, Bonaventure has four more continuing care communities — providing regular retirement living quarters, assisted living and memory — on the drawing board in each of the three states where it now operates.