New $70m retirement community coming to Durham
Durham will soon be home to a large independent living community on an 11-acre site at the junction of routes 4 and 108.
Posted Jan 18, 2018 at 4:09 PM
DURHAM — The Town of Durham will soon be home to a large independent living community on an 11-acre site at the junction of routes 4 and 108.
Riverwoods, which already operates a large retirement community of the same name in Exeter, will include 150 independent living units, 24 assisted-living apartments, 24 memory-care units, and 24 skilled-nursing units, according to a release from Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig.
The large single building with several wings and courtyards will be constructed on the northeast quadrant of the junction of the two highways, the release stated.
“We think it’s going to be a great project,” said Durham Director of Planning Michael Behrendt. “The review process was rigorous, but I think it went very well. They had an excellent team.”
Behrendt said issues about the project’s size, construction traffic, visibility and parking were all handled in a positive manner.
“I’m not expecting negative impacts,” Behrendt said. “All departments looked at it very carefully.”
The Planning Board approved the plans for project last week. According to the release, the review took about five months.
Riverwoods CEO Justine Vogel said construction is expected to begin in early summer and last 18 months, with the aim of opening in late 2019 or early 2020. Vogel said the construction will cost about $70 million.
More than 375 people have expressed interest in such a community in Durham, Vogel said.
“The market demand has been amazing,” Vogel said. “People want to be in Durham, near the University of New Hampshire. What we’re finding is that people who are from Durham love the town and want to stay there.”
Vogel noted that one of Riverwoods’s founders, Maryanna Hatch, is from Durham.
“For us, it’s like going home again,” Vogel said.
Behrendt said the town will receive an annual payment from Riverwoods in lieu of taxes. Vogel said the amount was not pre-determined, but will be based on a calculation redone every 10 years, likely starting in December 2019.
“We will pay 100 percent of the tax rate on an agreed-upon value,” Vogel said. “The value represents the value of the independent living units. The town will not tax the value that’s related to the health care center.”
Vogel also noted that the average age of New Hampshire residents is the second highest in the nation, making communities such as Riverwoods all the more necessary.
“How we find ways to serve seniors in a way that is, for us, all about community and piece of mind, our mindset is, it should be fun to be 75, 80, 95,” Vogel said. “The only way for it to be fun is if you know that if you need extra care, extra services, it’s all there. People flourish when that worry is taken away.”
Return to News & Press