Mt. Comfort Gateway will get senior campus


The entrance to Hancock Gateway Park off Mt. Comfort Road. (Mitchell Kirk | Daily Reporter)

HANCOCK COUNTY — A health and business park in the western part of the county continues to develop, with a senior housing campus slated to start construction early next year.

It’s coming to Hancock Gateway Park, a large tract of land Hancock Health owns at Mt. Comfort Road and Interstate 70. The Greenfield-based health-care provider opened a facility there two years ago and announced plans to draw other developments in an effort to create a gateway to the county. Talks continue on more projects at that gateway, which is also growing by nearly 60 acres.

The original site consists of about 140 acres in the southwest quadrant of the Mt. Comfort Road/I-70 interchange. Hancock Health opened its Gateway Hancock Health facility there in 2019, where it offers immediate care, imaging and lab services.

Rob Matt, senior vice president of Hancock Regional Hospital, said the aging-in-place campus will be on about 12 acres south of the hospital’s Gateway facility, fronting County Road 200N.

Indianapolis-based Avenue Development is leading the project, estimated at about $40 million. Mike Mattingly, principal and co-founder of the firm, said the campus will offer independent and assisted living as well as memory care. He added there will be about 140 units in a three-story building along with 16 duplex cottages. Construction is planned to start in the first quarter of 2022, and Avenue Development is aiming for an opening in the second quarter of 2023.

“There’s a significant need in the community for this type of community,” Matt said. “It plays perfectly well with the Hancock Health campus; it’s easy access to health care for these folks, whomever they may be. It’s very attractive. It just fits the overall health-oriented climate that we’re trying to create on the Hancock Health campus there.”

For nearly $2.7 million, Hancock Regional Hospital recently bought just over 56 acres at the southeast corner of County Roads 200N and 700W, directly south of the original Gateway Park tract’s west side. The Hancock County Area Plan Commission approved the new land’s inclusion in the development standards established for the park.

“There’s a very high need for additional housing in the county, and so it could be that that’s what the part of the property is used for,” Matt said.

He added the hospital also recognized there was an advantage to extending to the south.

“We had a number of interested developers in developing that ground for something unique in the county,” he said.

Harold Gibson of Greenfield-based H. Gibson Land Surveying, who is working with Hancock Health on the park, said at the recent plan commission meeting that there is also a plan for the new land to realign the way 200N S-curves with 700W by stretching the curve and moving it to the southeast. He said the change will help Hancock Health market the west end of the site and help traffic by lessening the sharpness of the curve.

The senior housing campus will follow Circle K’s recent razing of its location off Mt. Comfort Road with plans to replace it with a more modern facility slightly farther to the west.

And more developments for Hancock Gateway Park are on the way.

One is north of the hospital’s Gateway facility. The arrangements have yet to close, so Matt could not identify the future occupant yet, but he described it as an “internationally famous coffee company.”

Matt also said final discussions are underway with a pediatric oral surgery group over a 3-acre parcel in the park.

“We have probably eight or nine really nice projects in the pipeline which we’re trying to push to conclusion,” he added. “So there’s energy and interest.”

Gibson told county planning officials that the team behind the park undertakes a detailed process of determining whether proposed projects would assimilate well.

“There have been potential buyers in the past we’ve dismissed,” he said. “…We could’ve had hotels, we could’ve had apartments already, we could’ve had industrial big boxes; those have been ready to buy, but they just didn’t fit our vision right now.”