Posh 126-bed senior community coming to Franklin

The steel skeleton of a posh senior living community is taking shape on Franklin’s north side.

The community, dubbed Astral at Franklin, sits on slightly less than nine acres abutting Knollwood Farms, just south of Nicole Drive on U.S. 31.

The facility will have 118 units for seniors at three stages in life, including 51 independent living units, 39 assisted living units and 28 memory care units. Several of the independent and assisted living units will have two bedrooms, for a total of 126 rentable beds at the community.

The Sterling Group, a Mishawaka-based multi-family housing developer, is bringing the development to Franklin. The community will be managed by Franciscan Advisory Services, a senior living management firm that oversees facilities around the Midwest.

The developer is investing $32 million to build the facility and did not receive incentives from the city or state for the project, said John VanMeeter, Sterling Development vice president.

The three-story facility is designed by American Structurepoint. The upscale farmhouse-style design centers on resident-focused, sustainable and hospitality-driven alternatives to the institutional model of senior living, according to American Structurepoint.

Monthly rents will range from $3,700 to $4,200 for independent living units, from $3,800 to $4,500 for assisted living units and $6,200 to $6,600 for memory care units, according to the Sterling Group.

Though there are many senior living facilities in Johnson County, the Sterling Group’s research suggests a multi-story senior living facility chock full of amenities is lacking in the market, VanMeeter said

The community will offer an onsite restaurant, on-demand dining, whole building WiFi, a fitness center, movie theater, multi-purpose rooms, a chapel, a salon and spa, a courtyard, a walking trail and a local shuttle bus, VanMeeter said.

With the array of services, the facility will create 57 jobs in a diverse array of industries. Jobs will include management and administrative positions, nurses, cooks and servers, leasing agents, hair stylists, therapists, pharmacists, van drivers and more, VanMeeter said.

The Franklin facility is similar to Astral at Auburn, which the Sterling Group just opened near Fort Wayne. Both are targeted to seniors who want to retire in a small, charming city, outside a major metropolitan area, VanMeeter said.

With three types of senior living, the idea is that seniors can make their home at the facility in their final decades, moving to a more advanced type of care when needed without having to uproot, VanMeeter said. For example, assisted living care could be provided at an independent living unit if residents have that need, he said.

Construction began in March and is expected to wrap up by next summer, VanMeeter said. The independent living units are expected to be ready for occupancy in March 2022, with assisted living and memory care units to be move-in ready in the following months, he said.