Eastview opens new inn, greets residents
MIDDLEBURY — Construction teams are putting the final cosmetic touches on the new, 90,000-square-foot inn building that is the centerpiece of the Eastview at Middlebury retirement community off South Street. The inn will officially open to residents on June 1.
Rob Alberts, principal and president of Eastview’s board of directors, had some extra spring in his step last Friday as he walked past workers who were laying final pieces of floor tile, painting window trim and testing computer equipment at the inn. The two-story structure features 32 independent living apartments, another 19 for seniors requiring assistance, and 18 units for residents suffering from memory loss ailments. All the units have living room areas and all except the memory loss apartments have kitchens. As of Friday, 20 of the independent living apartments had been spoken for, according to Alberts. Officials anticipate substantial demand for the assisted living and memory loss units, which were not pre-sold.
“It will fill up,” Alberts said of the inn, which he called “the pulse of the Eastview community.”
It features, among other things, gathering places to spend time with friends and family, formal casual dining rooms, a library, auditorium, hair salon, fitness studio, game/media room and a private area for special parties.
In addition to the inn, Eastview features 30 cottages for seniors who want to remain independent but will have access to some basic services at the inn. Some of the cottages have been occupied since last fall. Twenty-six of the 30 cottages are currently occupied.
Eastview has been under construction since November 2010, but has been in the works since 2003. The project was delayed for several years by an Act 250 permit appeal filed by a South Street neighbor. That appeal went all the way to the Vermont Supreme Court before being adjudicated in Eastview’s favor.
Alberts believes the final product has been worth the wait and the lengthy court process.
“I think that basically, life is a series of challenges no matter what you do, so you might as well take on challenges you believe in,” Alberts said.
Eastview becomes the second retirement community to open its doors in Middlebury. The Lodge at Otter Creek, located at 350 Lodge Road, opened during the spring of 2008. It, too, features a combination of independent living, assisted living and memory care housing for seniors.
At this point, 70 to 80 percent of Eastview’s clients are either Addison County residents or have adult children living in the area, according to Alberts. Some are also either Middlebury College alumni or have other ties to the institution.
Like the Lodge at Otter Creek, Eastview figures to become a substantial local employer. The community has already hired administrators for its health care, housekeeping, dining facilities and maintenance departments, along with an executive director, Craig Johnsen.
A check of the Eastview website indicates the community is now recruiting a staff nurse, resident care assistants, a resident programs and events coordinator, a maintenance worker and dining room servers.
“At full employment, we are going to be at 47 full- and part-time employees,” Alberts said. “We are now at around 20. We are ramping up.”
Those employees will serve a clientele that includes Alberts’ own parents. They were a big part of Alberts’ impetus in pursuing Eastview.
“They are thrilled,” Alberts said of his parents, Bob and Lois, who reside in one of the cottages.
“It is really becoming a community.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].