Innovative prototype ‘29 Acres’ near Dallas is designed to meet local demand and offer housing and skills development to build self-esteem and independence
In a continuation of its ongoing philanthropic initiatives, Caddis® announced that it is donating more than $400,000 and its real estate development expertise to build a new prototype housing and educational community designed to increase independence among young adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)*.
The “29 Acres” community is a partnership between the Dallas-based national healthcare real estate firm and the non-profit 29 Acres, which was founded by a group of concerned parents of adult children with autism.
Their goal is to build a $12 million, 29-acre community at 3000 Mosley Road in Cross Roads near Dallas-Fort Worth that will provide homes; education; and recreational, skills development and other support services for up to 60 young adults with autism. When completed, the community is expected to employ about 200 full- and part-time staff.
Caddis CEO Jason L. Signor said his firm is excited to help with such an important project.
“Caddis’ mission is to create and enhance healthcare properties that provide exceptional patient or resident care and add value to the communities they serve,” says Mr. Signor. “Nothing could be more appropriate to help us fulfill this mission than by serving as the developer on the 29 Acres project.”
He added, “Over the years Caddis has provided a great deal of help to non-profit organizations, including recently donating over $65,000 to the Memorial Hermann Foundation to benefit Memorial Hermann employees and caregivers who were seriously impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We have really stepped up our philanthropic efforts, and we are proud to be a major player in making the dream of the 29 Acres community become a reality.”
29 Acres board members say the new community will fill an “enormous” need in Northern Texas.
John Foley, a 29 Acres board member, noted, “Speaking as a parent of an autistic child, my greatest concern is what will happen after we are gone, and 29 Acres will provide an optimal solution. It’s much more than physical housing; they also will provide a two-year independence skills program and a daily employment and community involvement program. I’m notably proud of the fact that 29 Acres will provide the opportunity for everyone to work and be a contributing member of society.”
The 29 Acres community is being built in a safe, country-like environment, but it will also be conveniently located near several rapidly growing cities that provide important services and employment, educational, social and recreational opportunities. The community, which is being built in phases, will eventually feature a total of 14 homes of about 3,000 square feet each.
The project also will include repurposing a barn into an 8,000 square foot community center that will house a communal dining area, kitchen for teaching cooking lessons, a library and computer center, fitness center, pre-vocational labs, and a leisure area for community events. The exterior of the community will feature a swimming pool, outdoor kitchen/cabana, activity fields, a basketball court and baseball field, organic gardens and greenhouses, and walking and biking paths.
The first phase of the project, which is expected to be completed in early 2020, will include renovation/construction of the community center and pool, construction of six houses, development of supporting infrastructure and underground infrastructure, and landscaping.
Mr. Signor said that once 29 Acres is complete, the partners don’t believe that’s the end of their work. “We believe that this innovative model will not only benefit local families and their adult children but also could be replicated in other areas of the country. We hope that the success of this prototype model will help change the face of autistic housing across the nation.”
The general contractor for the project is Dallas-based Taurus Commercial Inc., the architect is Carrollton, Texas-based Wright Group Architects, and the civil engineer is Glenn Engineering, which is headquartered in Irving, Texas.
*In 2013 the American Psychiatric Association broadened the scientific definition of autism to include all levels of functional severity under the name Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism or ASD refers to a wide range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
About 29 Acres
29 Acres, a registered 501c3, was founded in 2015 by a group of families who share a similar need: Finding quality programming and safe housing for their young adults with autism in North Texas. When our children with autism were young, our efforts were directed towards seeking appropriate care and therapies, privately and through our educational systems, to ensure they were given opportunities to learn and make meaningful progress. As a result, their children have grown up to be wonderful young adults. Most continue to live with challenges typical of adults with ASD, but have skills that can make a real difference in their lives – skills that, if maintained, will allow them to successfully engage in the community, be productive at a job or volunteer position and enjoy friendships.
At 29 Acres, we know they can have a life with purpose. We know they can have a happy life. For more information, please visit 29acres.org.