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Assisted living facility planned

November 26, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

A Seattle-based company plans to build a $7 million assisted living retirement community on Robinwood Drive near Hagerstown Junior College next year.

Emeritus Corp. spokeswoman Susan Griffin said the 100-unit building will provide a range of services for residents, including a full-service dining room, a wellness center, a television room, a library, a laundry service, a living room with a fireplace and beauty and barber shops.

Griffin said the units would range in size from efficiencies to two bedroom apartments. Rents for an efficiency would probably be in the $1,800 to $2,200 a month range, she said. That price includes food and other services.

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A 15-passenger bus would take senior citizens to medical appointments and shopping centers and on planned day trips.

Griffin said an assisted living arrangement is cheaper than a nursing home and provides a residential-type setting.

"It's a place that you would choose to live, not necessarily be put in," she said.

Griffin said the target market is seniors living in nursing homes who don't need that level of care.

"Our typical resident is an 82-year-old widowed school teacher," she said.

The 66,000-square-foot building will have a wood frame with two two-story residential wings, a one-story common area, and an outdoor gazebo. Construction could start in January and the home could open in November.

The Emeritus project is the second $7 million assisted living community planned for Hagerstown in the past month.

A Richmond, Va., company plans to build a $7 million community across the street from North Hagerstown High School.

That retirement community, planned by Manorhouse Retirement Centers Inc., would accommodate 103 residents in 87 units and create 50 jobs.

Manorhouse's monthly charges could be between $1,495 and $2,695, the company has said. Those rates include rent, transportation, laundry, housekeeping, maintenance, meals and utilities, except for cable and phone.

Keith Misner, vice president of Greencastle Retirement Partners LLC, the developer in the project, said he's not surprised that there will be two communities going up in Hagerstown at the same time.

"This is a burgeoning industry. There is this demographic bulge of older people that is coming."

Emeritus Corp. has a contract to buy the land, which is next to the Robin's Glen townhouse development, and has submitted a site plan for approval by the Washington County Planning Commission. The commission will review the site plan Monday at 7 p.m. in the County Commissioners' meeting room, which is on the second floor of the County Administration Building at 100 W. Washington St.

The proximity of Robinwood Medical Center was one of the reasons the company chose the location, Griffin said.

Emeritus holds interests in 117 communities representing capacity for more than 10,000 residents in 25 states and Canada.

Emeritus' common stock is traded on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol "ESC."

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