Nonprofit to take over planned Mystic retirement project

An artist's rendering of the Masonicare at Mystic project.
An artist's rendering of the Masonicare at Mystic project.

Mystic - A new 179-unit retirement community off Coogan Boulevard will be operated by Masonicare, a Wallingford-based not-for-profit company, after a previous management company failed to meet its financial obligations.

The upscale community on 18 acres will include both independent and assisted rental units, said Margaret Steeves, director of marketing and communications for Masonicare. It is being co-developed with Norwich-based BROM Builders and will be built by Klewin Construction of Stonington, which has experience constructing retirement communities throughout the country.

A groundbreaking for the Masonicare at Mystic development will be held May 22, and the first units are expected to be occupied by the middle of next year. The site originally was approved for 245 units, and Masonicare may fully build out the retirement community but that wouldn't occur for several more years, Steeves said.

"We are really excited about this property," she added.

Masonicare took over management responsibilities for the development after Morningside Management of Virginia ran into financial snags. Morningside had originally proposed a 245-unit assisted living project on a portion of the former Coogan Farm property.

Steeves said Masonicare at Mystic will offer one-bedroom apartments of nearly 800 square feet and two-bedroom apartments of more than 1,200 square feet. A few studios will be available as well, she said.

Prices for the rental properties have not been finalized, Steeves said, but would be competitive in its marketplace. While many retirement communities in the area require large up-front costs, Steeves said Masonicare opted for the rental model.

"That's just a model that seems to fill up quickly and offers residents more flexibility," she said.

Steeves noted that the community will feature a pool, dining area and spaces for exercise, wellness activities, cultural events and even an art studio. The site abuts 45 acres of open space just acquired by the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center.

"We believe Masonicare at Mystic will fill an unmet need in the area," said Jon-Paul Venoit, senior vice president of Masonicare, which operates a homecare and hospice agency in East Lyme.

Venoit estimated Masonicare will employ up to 150 full- and part-time workers on site after the project is completed. Previous tax-revenue estimates had indicated the retirement community, when fully complete, would be one of the top taxpayers in Stonington.

l.howard@theday.com

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