Source: NorthFulton.com

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$14M retirement village set on Medlock Bridge in Johns Creek
126-unit development breaks ground in summer

by Hatcher Hurd

March 18, 2013

The all-inclusive retirement property plans to offer a full range of activities for its active residents.
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. There will not be a 110-bed hotel at Johns Creek Walk; instead the Johns Creek City Council approved a change of zoning for a Hawthorn Retirement Group independent living facility with 126 suites. The $14 million development will cater to active seniors around 80 and older.

The City Council unanimously approved the change for the 5-acre parcel on Medlock Bridge Road in the Johns Creek Walk development to allow the age-restricted facility. It is on the back side of Johns Creek Walk development with the other multifamily units.

Mark Lowen, representing project architects Lenity Architecture, said Hawthorn is a leader in building and operating retirement residences for residents who want independent living but with the many amenities Hawthorn provides.

"Our residents don't have to cook, clean, do laundry or drive. We have concierge living that supports active older adults," Lowen said. "Hawthorn has been a pioneer in the congregant living business for decades. We envision 80 percent of our clients who move in come from a 20-mile radius of here."

The average demographic of residents is a 75- to 80-year-old woman in good health. About 20 percent of the facility will have double occupancy. Construction will begin this summer and open 18 months later around August of 2014.

While residents are welcome to bring their cars when they come to live at the Hawthorn village, Lowen said they usually "turn in their keys" after 18 months. Hawthorn has almost everything residents need on the property, and a valet van service takes them where they need to go to shop or for entertainment.

The 5-acre property will have a walking trail for exercise and a gardening area as well as outdoor activities. The property will offer a number of activities including a bistro, a gym engineered for older adults, a theater, a game room, a central dining area, an in-house beauty salon and 24-hour on-site management services.

Three meals a day and a snack are also included in the rent. The suites do not have kitchens, just a small refrigerator and perhaps a microwave.

There is no buy-in or down payment. Residents can sign a lease or rent month-to-month. The studio apartments begin at about $2,800 and go up to around $3,500 for the two-bedroom suites. The units start at 400 square feet and the largest are 900 square feet and 1,100 square feet for the two-bedrooms.

The goal is to have the residents spending a lot of time socializing with others on the property and not sitting around in their rooms.

"It may seem like a lot of money at first glance, but when you do the math for what you get for it, it is an incredible value," said Lenity's Project Manager Dan Roach. "For a senior on a fixed income, they don't have to worry about anything, just enjoy themselves."

With the congregant living, the health of most residents actually improves, Roach said.

The retirement village will be for active adults. The facility will not have a doctor on staff or nursing care, nor will staff dispense medicine, said Roach.

Roach said Hawthorn is confident of the demand for such facilities.

"A recent study has shown that 2,000 people a day will retire starting now for the next 20 years," Roach said.