Bloomington-based CarDon has strategy for growth in Indiana senior living market

Bloomington-based CarDon and Associates Inc. chose a location to the south of Indianapolis for a new senior-living facility it started building in May. But the firm’s leaders haven’t discounted future expansion closer to home.

“We do talk about additional growth in Bloomington,” said Daniel Moore, one of four siblings who own CarDon. “And probably within the next, in my mind, five to 10 years, our desire would be to have another campus in Bloomington somewhere.”

CarDon broke ground on an expansion in Bargersville — with a mailing address of 3154 S. Ind. 135, Greenwood — on May 14. That new facility, to be called Aspen Trace, is slated to total 117,500 square feet. It will contain 140 units in skilled nursing and assisted living settings for an approximate census of 140 to 150 people. In the future, CarDon wants to add to it with independent living apartments and garden homes.

The new construction is in line to cost between $15 million and $20 million, according to CarDon estimates. About 115 people will work there.

CarDon currently operates and manages 17 senior communities on 14 campuses. The roster of senior-living communities the company owns and operates includes Bell Trace Health and Living Center and Bell Trace Senior Living in Bloomington, as well as Brown County Health and Living Community in Nashville.

CarDon broke ground for its new facility planned for Bargersville roughly two years after the company dropped plans to build a new senior-living community in Bloomington in Renwick.

The firm walked away from those plans — which called for a three-story, 72-unit apartment building, 12 cottage homes and three manor homes — after neighbors and city officials voiced opposition.

“We understand how they felt,” Moore said. “That’s why we pulled our petition, and we’ll find somewhere else down the road.”

Conditions were right for an expansion at the Bargersville location, according to Dr. Stephen Moore, CarDon’s owning partner and CEO. Favorable conditions he listed weren’t limited to demand.

“A couple of different pieces came together for us,” Stephen Moore said. “The land was available, and it was zoned appropriately.”

The community in the Greenwood and Bargersville area also supported the project, Stephen Moore said. And there are two hospitals in the area, he added.

CarDon plans to continue growing in Indiana. It primarily wants to do so by developing new senior-living communities, although it has purchased existing communities in the past, according to its owners.

“Our strategy has been very much of a moderate, sustainable rate of growth that we can absorb while maintaining quality of care,” Stephen Moore said. “We’re not trying to be the biggest in the state.”

The company is headquartered at 2749 E. Covenanter Drive in Bloomington, where it has 25 employees. And it employs another 165 people in Bloomington at Bell Trace.

CarDon employs nearly 2,300 people throughout the organization. Stephen Moore and Daniel Moore represent its second generation of family ownership, along with their siblings David Moore and Kathy Headley. They took over from their parents, Carroll Moore and Donna Moore, at the beginning of the 2000s.

Stephen Moore recognizes that the company will face challenges as it grows. There is competition from out-of-state companies, he said. And federal health care reform poses questions on the staffing front.

“Health care reform will affect us, but not in the way people understand,” he said. “We’re an employer. So some of the health-insurance changes are going to affect us. We need to make sure we comply and meet the needs of our people.”

The company is still examining the ways the law will impact it a s a health-care provider.

“We don’t know yet,” Stephen Moore said. “It’s still so new, and there are so many moving parts, that we’re still waiting to see.”

By Rick Seltzer |
Photo by David Snodgress
The Herald Times Online