Brooksby Village expansion will add assisted-care units

Courtesy photoBrooksby Village in Peabody is seeking city permits to expand its assisted care apartments from 96 to 124. The retirement community now has more than 1,700 residents in independent apartments, assisted care apartments, and skilled nursing beds.

PEABODY — Eight years after Brooksby Village added assisted care units to its sprawling retirement complex off Route 114 in Peabody, it is looking to add more.

According to plans filed with the city, Brooksby plans a one-story addition to its Extended Care Center. The expansion will consist of 28 new assisted care units that will house up to 32 residents and lead to 19 new full-time jobs. That will create 124 assisted care units on the campus, in addition to the existing 1,352 apartments and 104 beds for skilled nursing. The addition will contain common dining and activity areas and associated support rooms.

Tracie Bettano, director of continuing care at Brooksby, said the need for assisted care spurred the expansion. Brooksby’s independent living apartments have vacancies — a spokesperson said the current occupancy rate is 97 percent, which translates to about 40 vacancies — but the assisted care units are fully occupied.

Bettano describes the living situation “as an active level of care” for mobile residents who need some help. She said there is potential for two-bedroom units with the addition, but the existing 96 rooms are all studio apartments or one-bedrooms.

Assisted care at Brooksby offers residents many of the same amenities and services as in independent living apartments, but with on-site nurses, social workers and staff members who assist with residents’ medical and social service needs. Some residents might need help with bathing, for example, or medication reminders.

Construction is slated to begin in May 2015 and wrap up the following spring, pending all city approvals and permits, said Stan Yeakel, Brooksby’s director of general services.

The 90-acre campus now has 10 buildings, more than 1,700 residents and about 600 employees, according to project plans filed with the city. Brooksby Village, which opened in 2000, also has its own polling precinct in Peabody — Precinct 3A in Ward 4.

Yeakel acknowledged that occupancy rates had dipped slightly in recent years, but he said those numbers are improving now that the economy is recovering.

The addition, planned for the northwest corner of the campus, will be built on a spot already reserved for future expansion, Yeakel said. Brooksby had originally planned to build a two-story residential building on the site, but it was never constructed and the area has been used for parking.

The addition will consume 70 parking spaces, but that will still leave more than enough to meet city zoning requirements, Yeakel said. Some community gardening space will be relocated.

Pricing is still being ironed out for the new units, said Public Affairs Manager Dani Baldassare. Marketing information on existing assisted care units shows a range of $4,303 to $7,723 per month with a refundable entrance deposit that ranges from $119,000 to $250,000.

Peabody Community Development Director Karen Sawyer said the project requires site plan review by the Planning Board, but she indicated that there weren’t any major concerns on the city’s end.

You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, jcastelluccio@salemnews.com or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.

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