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Retirement center plan scrapped

March 10, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Retirement center plan scrapped

The first of five assisted-living center operators to announce plans to build in Washington County has reconsidered, a company official said Monday.

Manorhouse Retirement Centers Inc. of Richmond, Va., has indefinitely delayed construction of a $7 million assisted living retirement community near North Hagerstown High School because of growing competition, said marketing coordinator Susan Huffman.

"We just don't want to overbuild in that area," said Huffman.

Manorhouse officials last November said it would build an assisted-living retirement community at 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. Four other organizations announced plans for similar facilities in Washington County.

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Assisted-living centers are geared toward senior citizens who are not in need of the medical care provided at nursing homes. Some residents require help with housekeeping and daily activities.

When planning the 103-bed retirement center, Manorhouse officials were unaware the other groups had similar plans, Huffman said.

Manorhouse terminated an option to buy the 4.62 acres, said Vincent Groh. The land is owned by Trust A&B, of which Groh and his brother are trustees.

Officials with those four groups said they are moving ahead with their plans.

"At this point the competition seems to be shrinking," said Terri Rodeheaver, vice president of development for Tressler Lutheran Services of Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Tressler and Washington County Health System expect to break ground by early June on an assisted living center on the Robinwood Medical Campus, Rodeheaver said.

Tressler has another retirement community in Hagerstown, Ravenwood Lutheran Village at 1183 Luther Drive.

"We're 100 percent committed to the Hagerstown market," said Keith Misner, vice president of Greencastle Retirement Partners. The firm is the developer of a $7 million assisted-living center that Seattle-based Emeritus Corp. will operate on Robinwood Drive.

Misner said construction on Robinwood Commons was delayed about seven weeks because of weather, but he expects work to start by the end of next week. The community would accommodate about 120 residents and employ almost 50 people.

Balanced Care Corp., of Mechanicsburg, Pa., plans three assisted-living centers in the Tri-State area, said Tim Costello, Balanced Care's development director for Maryland.

The Martinsburg, W.Va., center is under construction, Costello said. Construction on the Shippensburg, Pa., center is expected to start in April and on the Hagerstown center in June for a March 1999 opening, he said.

Francis R. Nance, director of development for Mayfair Management in Smithfield, Va., said his firm also will still build in Hagerstown.

"We are dedicated to Alzheimer's and other dementia care and to our knowledge, no one else is planning that kind of care," Nance said.

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