Thursday, 01 December 2016 04:21

Grand opening celebrates third phase of Riverview Village Estates development

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Riverview Village Estates residents Larry and Sandra Hill speak about their experience of living in this retirement community during the grand opening and ribbon cutting for phase three, Nov. 25. Riverview Village Estates residents Larry and Sandra Hill speak about their experience of living in this retirement community during the grand opening and ribbon cutting for phase three, Nov. 25.

The completion of the third phase at Riverview Village Estates, a non-profit and community-owned life lease retirement community in Swift Current, was celebrated with a grand opening event on Nov. 25.

There were guided tours of the facility and an official program with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The program included musical entertainment and presentations by a number of dignitaries.
Phase 3 adds 79 one- and two-bedroom condominium units to the facility and it increases the value of the Riverview Village Estates development to more than $50 million.
For long-time board member Gord Hagen, it was a special day to celebrate the completion of a process that started in the 1990s.
“It was excellent,” he said after the grand opening. “It’s certainly a feeling of accomplishment to have concluded and finished that part. I mean, there’s still ongoing things because as you move in with a new building you find some things that maybe aren’t quite working out the way they were originally designed. So there’s need for some changes and some adjustment here and there. That’s ongoing and Westridge has been excellent in providing that service to us after they completed the major build.”
The planning for the third phase started in 2012 in association with the Regina architectural firm P3A. Westridge Construction Ltd. of Regina was appointed to build the new addition and construction started in May 2014.
The new four-storey structure provides five layout designs of different sizes for the 79 suites. The floor plans vary in size from 578 to 1,296 square feet.
“There’s a real good mix of sizes and hopefully those different sizes will find people that fits perfectly for them,” he said. “The large majority are two-bedroom units, but there are some one-bedroom units as well. So certainly for one person or maybe a couple that are limited mobility — maybe one bedroom still works for them.”
According to Hagen, about 70 per cent of the life lease units in Phase 3 have already been sold.
“We still have a waiting list to get into Phase 1 and Phase 2 because they are prices more appropriately with the time of when they were built,” he said. “So the cost may be a little bit less on Phase 1 and Phase 2  than it is on Phase 3.”
That interest from people to obtain a life lease at Riverview Village Estates was an important consideration for board members when they decided to initiate the planning for Phase 3 in 2012.
“We looked at it at that time and we had a waiting list of 40 to 50 people waiting to get into Phase 1 and Phase 2,” he said. “So we had a huge waiting list there and we knew that with that alone we could make phase three work.”
He believes people are attracted to Riverview Village Estates by the level of service and a sense of community.
“The managers, Glenn and Diana (Hanke), are very outgoing, very kind, to make sure that respect is always there with the clientele and their staff are equally as qualified and work very hard at that service,” Hagen said. “The vision was to make this a home and with any home you want it to be enjoyed and meet the needs of the people coming in.”
The construction cost for Phase 3 was about $30 million. This phase replaces the original 10 assisted living suites with a 14-unit assisted living wing with visiting areas and an outside courtyard.
The new phase adds many features to the existing facility. There is a great room with a serving kitchen, a media wall, a baby grand piano and a large dance floor. There is an exercise room, a games room as well as a crafts room. A wood working shop is located in the expanded underground parking area.
The outdoor area around the new phase will be developed next spring.
It includes a pitch and putt golf green that will be set in a park-like setting with new flower gardens and walkways.
“We want to have a bandstand so that we can have outdoor music activities going on outside in a park-like area,” he said. “So there’s lots of things we want to do to complement life here and make it as enjoyable as possible.”
The development of Riverview Village Estates took place in three phases due to financial considerations.
“The financing just wasn’t available for us,” he said. “In scaling it back and developing it in stages, we were able to raise the first phase at about $3-million cost, which was more do-able from a lenders situation as well as a sales concern.”
The initial phase of 18, one and two-bedroom suites and 10 assisted living units were completed in 2003 and it was fully occupied within two months.
“It really gave us a real boost,” he said. “We knew we had an excellent project to work with, but the economics of this kind of an operation really requires at least 80 units to make it viable. ... We had to keep going with the next phases to bring it to that final stage. We recognized that objective right from the beginning and that’s what we kept working towards.”
The second phase of the development was originally designed to add 40 units, but additional units had to be included to cover the cost of construction.
“From the time the plans were completed to when we actually tendered, the price increased dramatically in that time period to the point that we had to add another 12 units to the design to make it economically-viable,” he recalled. “So it’s been a moving target all along in respect of financing and cost of construction and sales.”
The construction of phase two was announced in the fall of 2004. The cost of the 52 units in that phase was about $10 million.
“The cost of construction has increased dramatically,” he said about the different phases. “You always look back and think if we’ve done it earlier we would have been way ahead now, but that’s how life is. You take it as it rolls.”

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Matthew Liebenberg


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