A problem has arisen for the Fountainhead at Solebury project, a proposed 20-acre retirement community, when the board of supervisors learned last week that Doylestown Hospital has pulled out of providing a retail urgent care center for the venture.
The project is being proposed jointly by New Cartwheel Partners, which planned the 8,880-square-foot urgent care center and 10,560 square feet of retail space, and by Heritage Senior Living, which plans housing and amenities for people aged 55 and older.
Officials at Doylestown Health on Friday confirmed the report.
“Like many other hospitals and healthcare systems, Doylestown Health began to engage in the challenging work of mitigating the extraordinary impact of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year,” said Doylestown Health President and CEO Jim Brexler in a statement Friday. “Given the financial challenges we faced, it was decided that we would be unable to move forward with this project. As our financial status continues to stabilize, we will assess our options relative to standalone projects like the one proposed in New Hope.”
New Cartwheel’s plan for the urgent care center and retail space was approved by the supervisors last year.
The site is off Route 202 next to the Logan Square Shopping Center.
On Nov. 21, the Heritage developers told the board they hope to get final approval for the venture in December and plan for completion in 2026.
Supervisor Kevin Morrissey lamented the demise of the current urgent care center plan.
“Well, I don’t know what to think of this application,” he said. “...While it was understood that Heritage and New Cartwheel are two different entities, there were numerous meetings when it appeared that the two companies were at least informal partners. We all went through a lengthy conditional use application involving Heritage Senior Living and New Cartwheel Partners to approve the assisted living community. One of the lead elements to all of this was the urgent care center which would be a very significant benefit to this community.
“Throughout that whole application, the urgent care center was held out as being part of the project, and I believe certainly assisted, with the application process. The township viewed this as a significant improvement to the community.
“Subsequent to all the approvals we were notified that the urgent care center was no longer part of the plans. We did not perceive that there was any significant effort to obtain a replacement that could fulfill the original plan of an urgent care facility in Solebury.”
Kevin McCollum, chairman and CEO of Heritage Senior Living, countered that he is looking for a replacement to run the urgent care center, but that the process for finding one is complicated and lengthy.
Morrissey said that, at the October Planning Commission meeting reviewing the application, “it was indicated by a Heritage representative that Heritage Senior Living is a very significant player in this industry with something in the order of 20-22 communities. With that sort of presence, I am uncertain why a replacement could not have been found and Heritage did not seem to assist New Cartwheel with this effort.”
As for the Heritage Senior Care part for the project, it calls for:
• 130 apartment units in four buildings;
• 20 single-family detached two-bedroom cottages;
• a clubhouse-community center;
• a community garden;
• 348 parking spaces.
The Fountainhead at Solebury project takes its name from the former Fountainhead wedding and banquet facility on the property which was destroyed by fire in 1999 and was owned by Pam Minford, who died in 2006 at the age of 81.