Three years after jumping through hoops, Curtis McGill could finally breathe a sigh of relief as he opened the shiny, new Ashton Senior Living on Enota Avenue.
“It took a whole year just to get financing,” the assisted and independent living center’s owner said Monday. “Money is not easy to get these days.”
He and sons Max and Curt were celebrating Monday as the center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring food, a band and tours of the red-brick building between Thompson Bridge Road and Riverside Drive.
The home, sitting on 3½ acres, features an 80-foot front porch, dining hall, libraries, beauty and barber shop, sunroom and an amenity that wasn’t in original plans — a rear outside sitting area. Assisted living areas also are offered for those who need more care.
Also, McGill borrowed from nearby historic Green Street architecture to design the facility, “with the big columns out front,” he said.
“And when you walk in the front door, I wanted it to have a little bit of a lodge look with the stone flooring and the (stacked) stones on the stairwell,” he said. “So, when you walk in, you feel like you’re in a home instead of an institution.”
The project required some heavy lifting, including getting proper zoning from Gainesville and tearing down several houses to make room for the building.
And there’s more work to do.
“We’ll open up a lot of the building, but we’re still waiting on the state to sign off on our assisted living license,” McGill said.
All in all, though, he believes the complex has improved the area’s appearance.
“It was rundown,” said McGill, who also owns a senior living complex in Lawrenceville.
Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan agreed.
At one time, the area “was a nice little neighborhood, but as years went by, it turned into rentals and went down,” Dunagan said.
“And then, a couple houses were torn down and it was just … bare property, so this is a huge improvement,” he said.