Treatment center proposed for Cordillera lodge
Treatment centers are everywhere
Health/wellness/addiction treatment centers are relatively common across the country
18 in Malibu
Malibu, California is home to 18 wellness and rehab centers. A few are on the Pacific shore; one is Pepperdine University’s neighbor.
One in Malibu is a few hundred yards up the hill from Malibu High School, in a gated neighborhood.
17 in Colorado
Around Colorado, 17 wellness and rehab centers are located in widely varying communities. Two are located near Carbondale, and one is in Glenwood Springs.
One is near the south gate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, while another is near the Broadmoor hotel and a half mile from Cheyenne Mountain High School.
EDWARDS — A Baltimore-based company wants to buy The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera to create a health, wellness and addiction treatment center. Cordillera homeowners and the metro district say they’ll appeal the plan’s recent approval by Eagle County’s community development director.
100 employees at $100,000
Baltimore-based Concerted Care Group Management recently signed a sales contract to buy the lodge from current owners Behringer Harvard, a Texas company.
“We have been searching for the perfect property to launch this part of our brand. It took years of searching to find a property like the Lodge. There is nothing like it in the world,” said Noah Nordheimer, Concerted Care Group CEO. “We believe The Lodge will be superior to any facility in the Unites States or abroad, both physically and clinically.”
Nordheimer said Concerted Care will invest more than $70 million in the property.
He said he expects to employ between 75 and 100 people in Cordillera, with an average salary of around $100,000.
“Doesn’t belong here”
Several Cordillera property owners and the metro district remain unconvinced. While Concerted Care’s services are “worthy and needed,” they don’t belong in their high-end residential neighborhood, they say.
“We still believe that such services do not belong in the heart of our community,” said Rachel Oys, general manager of the Cordillera Metro District. “As a community we feel that the preliminary plans that Concerted Care Group Management has shared are incompatible within a resort residential community.”
Cordillera has nothing to fear, Nordheimer said.
“Facilities of this nature have caused no increase in crime or decrease in property value in Malibu, the Hamptons or other parts of the world,” Nordheimer said.
Anonymity included in the cost
The average cost to stay at The Lodge will be $60,000 per month, Nordheimer said. Along with treatment, patients pay for anonymity.
“People coming to get well at the Lodge want complete anonymity, which we will provide within our campus. The Lodge will provide around the clock security guards, as we do at all of our facilities to protect our patients,” Nordheimer said.
Health, wellness and treatment, he said, is “personal” and he’s willing to stand up for it.
Nordheimer said he was among the estimated 23 million Americans who struggle with addiction.
Nordheimer is a real estate developer by vocation, creating both affordable housing and market-based projects, he said. He hurt his back and became addicted to painkillers. He had a strong support system, but it was still tough to overcome, he said. He said he put his addiction behind him while serving as an executive of a large national corporation.
“People affected by addiction and mental health issues are from every community in this country, including affluent ones,” he said.
Eagle County’s 2017 Health Improvement Plan lists increasing mental health and substance abuse resources as a top priority.
Beating city hall
In Baltimore, Nordheimer successfully fought city hall. When Nordheimer announced plans in 2014 to spend $8.6 million to create two treatment facilities in a low-income neighborhood, two Baltimore city council members threatened to change the zoning to block the plan. They claimed the neighborhood was already saturated with programs and facilities.
The Baltimore city attorney’s office told the two council members that abusing zoning authority flies in the face of the Americans With Disability Act and federal fair housing laws.
Nordheimer built the two facilities in 2015. Those facilities now employ 75 people.
“A police captain told me that crime is down in that neighborhood because of us,” Nordheimer said.
Use by right
Last week, Eagle County Community Development Department Director Bob Naracci ruled that Concerted Care’s plans are a “use by right” under Cordillera’s development guidelines.
Those guidelines allow medical offices and facilities, but limits them to “clinic and outpatient facilities for non-critical care.”
“Clinics are clearly an allowable use for non-critical care; which may provide inpatient clinical facilities. Outpatient facilities for non-critical care are likewise allowed as a use-by-right,” Naracci wrote.
Cordillera’s metro district and property owners association disagree, especially with the definition of outpatient treatment. They say they’ll appeal the ruling to the Board of County Commissioners.
That appeal is due by July 1.
The lodge currently has 56 guest rooms, two restaurants, a spa and 5,000 square feet of meeting space.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.