Officials announce new retirement community plans

VIENNA – A new multi-million dollar retirement community is being planned for the Parkersburg area as developers met with potential tenants Tuesday.

Around 50 people attended a meeting at the Grand Pointe Conference Center in Vienna to look over the concept designs, floor plans and discuss the number of options of what will be included in the new Lakeside Landing development, which will be located on a 300-acre piece of property just off the Staunton Avenue exit of Interstate 77.

The project is being put together by Parkersburg-based River’s Edge Incorporated, in conjunction with JMM Architects of Columbus.

“I have been working on this project for about 10 years,” said Mike Miller, developer and owner of Ohio Valley Health Care. “I have been involved in long-term care and we have an aging population in this area.

“It is just a matter of time before this will become a necessity.”

The first phase of the project is estimated to cost between $28-$35 million and includes the construction of 100 independent-living apartments and 60 assisted care units. The concept also includes a Main Street concept indoors which will include three restaurants, including a full-service pub, coffee/sandwich shop and conventional sit-down buffet with large dining room; a private dining area for friends and family; shops; hobby-oriented establishments and worship space.

Phase 1 will measure approximately 250,000 square feet with residential units measuring approximately 900 to 1,800 square feet. All apartments will feature full kitchens and one-, two- or three-bedroom plans are available.

“It will depend on people, because they may come to us and say they only want to pay for 1,000 square feet,” Miller said. “Right now, many people want a little bigger.

“That is the national standard and what people are doing now. People are coming out of larger homes and it is harder for them to downsize.”

Cost of each unit will depend on its size. All units require an initial investment and a monthly fee thereafter ranging from $3,500-$4,200 which includes three meals daily, all utilities, priority access to assisted living services, priority access to skilled nursing care and more, excluding phone.

With onsite nursing care available and other services, officials are estimating around 100 people could be initially employed at the facility.

Lakeside Landing will be easily accessible to the area’s two major hospitals and within four hours from Charleston and Morgantown, W.Va.; Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; and Pittsburgh, Pa.

Developers hope the facility, the first of its kind in the state of West Virginia, will join the ranks of some of the finest constructed and operated retirement facilities in the U.S.

A number of people have moved out of the area and are not always thrilled where they go because of differences in estate laws and other concerns while others want to return to more familiar surroundings.

“People have their dentist, eye doctor, physician, banker, their church are here,” Miller said. “It is all of those people that you spent a lifetime developing those relationships with.

“Now that you are 70 years old, you are going to move to Florida and start all over? A lot of people move and later find out that they don’t like it.”

Miller has owned the property for several years and already has a 15-acre lake built. The infrastructure is in place including underground electrical utilities, water lines, sewage lines and gas lines, he said, adding the property is adjacent to property owned by West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Developers are working to get at least 70 clients signed on before they make plans to actually break ground on construction. The first 100 clients will participate in planning their individual living space and may offer input and insight into some of the features of the community itself.

At the conclusion of Phase I, Lakeside Landing’s Main Street, all common areas, apartments and suites with the surrounding “lakescape” and grounds, will be completed developers said, adding additional phases will be planned according to demand.

“One of the things I am certain about is the people who will live there will be satisfied,” Miller said. “Their families will enjoy the project and it will be a good addition to the community.

“We are looking forward to getting started.”

Parkersburg Mayor Robert Newell called the development an important project for the whole community in the creation of jobs as well as keeping residents close to home.

“This is a great opportunity to stay in an area that has a lot to offer and for people to stay close to their children and grandchildren,” he said.

Vicki Jackman of Vienna, and her husband. Howard, were among the local residents looking into the possibility of securing a unit in the new development during Tuesday’s meeting.

When word first began circulating around five years ago about a possible retirement community being planned for this area, Vicki inquired about it through an ad in the newspaper.

“I was calling every few months, but nothing was happening,” she said. ”(When she saw Tuesday’s meeting was occurring) I was so excited.

“When I see what they are going to do, it is very exciting. It looks beautiful what they are going to do.”

The Jackmans had been living in southern California and there were a number of facilities out there, but they were not ready to make that commitment then. Now they are in West Virginia and are looking for something like this.

“Now we are ready and we are hoping it will not take too long to build,” Vicki said.