October 9, 2008

Lodging for Cancer Patients Proposed

By Pamela Perkins

Adult cancer patients and their families may soon have one less thing to worry about while receiving outpatient care far from home.

The American Cancer Society Mid-South Division Inc. will ask the Land Use Control Board today to allow a three-floor "boarding house" at Union and Manassas, on what is now a parking lot between Sun Studio and the University of Tennessee Cancer Research Building.

An $8.5 million project, the proposed American Cancer Society Harrah's Hope Lodge, would provide free accommodations to patients and their families - in the manner of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's Target House and Ronald McDonald House.

The American Cancer Society has 25 Hope Lodges around the country. Local agency officials wanted to fill the void of such lodgings for adult cancer patients coming to Memphis for treatment, said the local agency's capital campaign director, Leighanne Hart.

The project will need a special-use permit to proceed as a "boarding house."

The 30,000-square-foot facility - with a lobby, office and kitchen area on the first floor and total of 40 guest rooms on the second and third floors - will operate like a hotel.

But Memphis and Shelby County planning, code enforcement and legal staff determined that it would more appropriately be considered a boarding house.

A hotel requires rooms to be available to the general public. A boarding house allows meals and lodging for compensation as long as the guests are not transients and no on-site convalescent or chronic care is provided.

According to the Land Use staff report, city-county planners recommend that the board approve the project as long as the agency tweaks the plan to comply with building setback and other requirements in the Medical Center Overlay District.

Hart said agency officials hope to break ground on the facility in the spring. Construction could take a year to 18 months .

She said the project has received about $6 million in donations and pledges - including $2 million from Harrah's Entertainment Inc.

Last year, the project also got $6 million in bond funding from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp., a Center City Commission affiliate that the agency is paying back with donations.

- Pamela Perkins: 529-6514


On the Web:

To see the staff report on the Hope Lodge proposal, go to commercialappeal.com.


Originally published by Pamela Perkins [email protected] .

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