Article by Hank Beckman
With a Jan. 24 ribbon cutting ceremony, Plymouth Place Senior Living officially opened its Arboretum Villas.
The $95 million addition will include 59 separate villas/units and be home to an estimated additional 80 people, bringing the total Plymouth Place community to 400 seniors.
“This is really a celebration of success,” Jay Biere, CEO of Plymouth Place, said. “The Arboretum Villas have attracted the early baby boomers to Plymouth, and it’s added additional housing options, wellness, and culinary experiences and options.”
Several hundred people turned out for the ceremony marking the latest addition to the La Grange-area institution that first opened its doors in 1944.
Plymouth Place Executive Director Sian Stevens and Art Grundke, president of the resident’s council cut the ribbon at 3:30 p.m., after which guests — a mix of residents, La Grange Park dignitaries and locals — sipped complimentary wines and were treated to a full spread of hors d’oeuvres.
Arboretum Villas sit on a 17-acre campus and will include nine different floor plans and enjoy all the benefits of living in Plymouth Place, including varied dining options and the Center for Healthy Living, which provides fitness and wellness programs tailored to each individual.
“When you are in independent living you have access to all the wellness experiences, all the exercise, physiology, the artificial intelligence, pools, spa, and we have multiple culinary experiences … five restaurants,” Biere said. “That all is included with the monthly service fee.”
He also said that though it was independent living, Villa residents were also eligible for what Plymouth Place calls Campus Care, with a variety of different doctors on staff.
One of the dining options residents will enjoy is the newly-opened Thirty North restaurant, an upscale establishment led by noted Chicago chef an sommelier Mark Sabbe.
“It is independent living and these are hybrid homes, these are all customized, unique homes that are designed, based on how they wanted it,” Biere said, stressing the research that went into designing Arboretum Villas.
As the aging process inevitably progresses, Plymouth Place provides access to assisted living, memory care, and rehab and wellness.
Biere said that the project was finished four months ahead of schedule and sell out seven months ahead of schedule, crediting Pepper Construction with making that happen. Because the project was funded with tax exempt bonds, Plymouth Place was able to pay down some short term debt and save some on interest payments.
Sian Stevens, a recent addition to Plymouth Place staff, framed the Villas as step toward the future.
“I think this means innovation, it shows our forward thinking, and that we want to address future generations’ needs,” she said. “Even with a place like Plymouth Place, which has such a great reputation, we want to continue to evolve and meet the changing needs of the demographic we serve.”
Stevens said that the addition of the Villas — and 80 new residents — to the community wouldn’t make her job any harder, saying, “It actually makes it more fun, and it’s always great to have something new to work on.”
Mick Metzger of Pepper Construction credited working with Plymouth Place staff for the ahead-of-time completion of the project.
“Well I think through partnerships that we formed with Plymouth Place early on during preconstruction, as we were working through the project, we were able to work as a team,” he said. “Through those partnerships, we were able to do that (come in ahead of schedule).
Resident Nancy Conforti was happy with the new addition to her community.
“We’re very happy here and this was a great decision,” she said.
Village officials were in attendance, including La Grange Park President Dr. James Discipio, Village Manager Julia Cedillo, Police Chief Tim Contois, Fire Chief Dean Maggos, and Public Works Director Rick Radde.
“This is an incredibly proud moment for Plymouth Place,” Cedillo said. “I think it was certainly built on a very strong vision.”
Discipio agreed, saying, “This is a phenomenal project that’s going to create better housing options for our people.”
This article originally appeared on Chicago Tribune.