Hotel-style senior living, rehab facility brings much-needed jobs to east side

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The east side of Indianapolis is a part of town that's rich in history, but not rich in opportunity. The area continues trying to bounce back after manufacturing jobs left the city several years ago.

A company that offers senior assisted living and rehabilitation also seems to offer the area some much-needed rehabilitation.

Carmel-based Mainstreet, in partnership with Trilogy Health Services, will open Arlington Place at 16th and Arlington in the middle of March. The facility will employ 125 full-time people.

It's welcome news to longtime east side residents.

"I started as a laborer and I was a quality control technician when the plant closed," James Wells said as he shuffled through his RCA employee record file. He worked at east side plant from 1965-1986.

Twenty-eight years after the factory closed, he still proudly hangs on to his record detailing his climb into management.

"That was an achievement for me because where I came from, that was pretty good," Wells said.

In his more than 50 years living on this side of town, he noticed a change when the east side lost its manufacturing muscle.

"The community went from primarily homeowners to rental property to abandoned property, so you had deterioration of the neighborhoods," Wells said.

And still today, it's tough out here.

"There are not a lot of job opportunities out there right now," said Michelle Clayton, who has been looking for a job for six months, her determination never fading.

"We're here, we're doing it, we're using the computers, we're going to get a job regardless, we keep trying, so many nos, only one yes," Clayton said.

One of those "yes" answers for people like Clayton could come from Mainstreet.

The swank hotel-like senior rehab and assisted living facility will hire 125 people at its new east side location.

"Somebody in the urban environment gets the same Medicare dollar as someone in a wealthy suburb, they just have fewer options so we are passionate about changing the way care is delivered by doing it there, and here, and in rural environments," said Mainstreet CEO Zeke Turner.

The multi-million dollar investment is just long-time residents like Wells have been waiting to see finally come back here.

"It's a step in the right direction. My generation, something is better than nothing, a job is better than no job. A job is constructive, it just creates a lot of nice things," Wells said.

The east side location is part of a bigger picture by Mainstreet. The company plans to create 3,000 permanent jobs in Indiana by 2016 at locations opening up all across the state.

Company leaders say their services are "competitive" with similar senior living and rehabilitation service providers.

A Kokomo location is also expected to open in March, creating 140 jobs, while a South Bend location is expected to open in July, creating 120 jobs.

Other locations are expected in Terre Haute and Lafayette by the end of the year.

Turner is from Indiana, which is why he said he chose to operate his company in the state.

He says his inspiration to "redefine senior living" comes in part from taking care of his family.

"The need for change in this industry is real. People deserve better. My own grandparents are in our property in Marion. I feel like they deserved better so I developed there."

To learn more about the company or apply for jobs, click here.