By Jonathan Phelps
---- — The land at 149 County Road has been vacant since the late 1970s, when the well-known Marguery Restaurant was destroyed by fire.
But soon, a 75-unit independent, assisted-living and memory-care apartment building will be built. The site has been cleared, and the foundation is ready to be poured, said Ted Doyle, director of marketing for LCB Senior Living, which will own and operate the facility.
The development, named The Residence at Riverbend, is being built by Peabody-based Congress Companies. An official groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled to take place this morning.
When finished, the project will bring 70 jobs and about $220,000 in real estate taxes, Doyle said. The building is expected to open in the fall of next year.
There will be studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, many with an efficiency kitchen. Eight apartments, 10 percent of the project, will be designated as affordable, Doyle said.
“We’ve been looking in that area for quite some time,” Doyle said. “Ipswich is underserved when it comes to assisted living and senior housing in general.”
He said Ipswich offers a number of amenities, including an active downtown, spiritual life and natural beauty for its future residents. On site, there will be a restaurant-style dining room, cafe, exercise room, outdoor patio, and a barber and beauty salon.
The Residence at Riverbend will be on the former Riverbend Estate, which was owned by the Barnard family in the early to mid-20th century and was home to magnificent gardens along the Ipswich River. Later, it became the Marguery Restaurant from 1945 to the late 1970s, when it was destroyed by fire, Doyle said.
“This site has been empty since,” he said.
The developers have conveyed 3 acres of the 15.5-acre site to the town and the Ipswich River Watershed Association as conservation land along the riverfront. An easement has been granted for public access to the river from County Road.
“This is easily one of the most spectacular sites that we have ever had the privilege of owning,” said LCB Chief Executive Officer Michael S. Stoller in a prepared statement. “The combination of natural beauty and access to all of the wonderful resources that Ipswich has to offer is truly unparalleled.”
Doyle spent a lot of time with the town’s design review board to come up with the final design.
“We decided to go with a New England farmhouse look,” he said. “We were looking to create something that was reflective of the local architecture.”
LCB Senior Living is currently leasing rooms at the property.
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.