This architectural rendering of “Summer Commons,” is for a 95-bed senior care facility planned for Sanford. Developers plan to break ground on the new facility in October. It will replace the aging 74-bed Newton Center and two other facilities that closed in 2018. COURTESY IMAGE

SANFORD — Owners hope to break ground on a new, 95-bed senior care facility in Sanford in October.

Daniel Maguire of developer Sandy River Corporation told the Sanford City Council last week that the facility, which will feature rehabilitation beds, long-term care beds, and 30 memory care beds, has earned its required Certificate of Need from the state and is now awaiting environmental permits.

The facility, called “Summer Commons” in architectural renderings, will be located on nine acres abutting the existing, 74-bed Newton Center and will be operated by a joint venture of Sandy River Corporation and North Country Associates, called Sanford Senior Care Operations LLC.

The $23 million elder care project was announced last fall, after an earlier proposed arrangement with another operator ended.

Once built, it will replace the circa 1974 Newton Center, which is still in operation; and the former 14-bed Hillcrest Gardens and the former 24-bed Pavilion, which provided memory care. Hillcrest Gardens and the Pavilion closed in 2018.

According to documents associated with the Certificate of Need, the land is to be purchased from Southern Maine Health Care.

Sandy River Corporation has developed a number of senior care facilities across Maine.

Founded in 1982 by John Orestis, North Country Associates operates and manages two dozen facilities in Maine and one in Harwich, Massachusetts.

Maguire told the council the one-story, wood frame building will be 65,000 square feet.

“It will feel smaller in many ways because we’ll break it up into ‘neighborhoods,’” said Maguire.

Many of the rooms will be private, including all of the beds in the memory care wing, he said.

The facility is expected to take 14 months to build, and the developers expect it to open sometime in the third quarter of 2020.

Maguire said the $23 million budget is still being finalized.

“We’re wrestling with higher costs than anticipated,” he said.

According to the state Certificate of Need documents, Newton Center employs 84 full-time equivalent personnel  and the company intends to hire as many of them as they can.

York County has an estimated population of 207,000. Of those, 19.7 percent are 65 or older, according to information included in the Certificate of Need. It is a figure expected to grow. Citing a 2014 report from the Muskie School of Public Service and the U.S. Census, the forecasted rate of growth of York County’s older population between 2015 and 2025 is to increase by 11,460 people between 65 and 74 years old, by 7,703 people between 75 and 84 years old, and by 1,046 people over 85 years old.

York County has 10 skilled nursing facilities, including the Newton Center. According to the Certificate of Need, the 10 facilities have a capacity of 750 beds, and an occupancy level of nearly 90 percent. There are eight residential care facilities listed in the document, with a capacity of 379 beds,  of which 89 percent are occupied.

In 2010, York County had 24 nursing care beds per 1,000 people over 65 years old, compared to the state average of 33; and 12 residential care beds per 1,000 people over 65, compared to the state average of 20.

The developers noted the project doesn’t add additional beds, but creates an updated facility.

“Obviously this will be a great addition to our community,” said Sanford Mayor Tom Cote.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: