Workers put the finishing touches on Bessey Crossing, a new 40-unit apartment building for 55-plus residents in Scarborough. The building is scheduled to open in May. Contributed / Cynthia Taylor

A new 40-unit apartment complex for seniors is set to open in Scarborough in May, and comes at a time where housing for older people is in high demand.

The $8.5 million building, called Bessey Crossing, is located at 4 Bessey School Drive. The three-story building is part of a larger campus on the former Bessey School property that includes Bessey Commons, a similar 54-unit complex that has been open for the past 14 years, according to Cynthia Taylor, president of Housing Initiatives of New England Corporation, the company that developed the new building.

The company is accepting applications for units now, and plans to open the building in May, Taylor said.

Conversations between the town and the developer go back until at least 2018, and the company has spent the past year and a half constructing the new building, she said.

Taylor said she has not done market research recently, but cited waiting list data as a sign locally of a need for new housing for 55-plus tenants. When Bessey Commons first opened, she said, there were 100 people on a waiting list, and even now, she said, that building still maintains a waiting list, with about 50 people on it.

“We knew there was a demand for it, and there continues to be a demand,” she said.

Town Planner Jay Chace said his office didn’t have current data on the need for senior-focused housing, but cited similar projects elsewhere in town as indicative, such as Jocelyn Place, a 60-unit building the South Portland Housing Authority wants to build in Scarborough, and the Uplands complex, an ongoing project on the Downs property, which has at least 39 units available with plans for more.

“There seems to be a lot of demand in the marketplace for it,” he said.

While no hard data is available right now, Chace said the proposed 2020 Comprehensive Plan will include promoting housing for seniors. The current draft of the plan, which Chase said will soon be updated with current data, indicates the 55-64 age bracket is “one of the fastest-growing age cohorts in Scarborough today.”

Taylor said the company first began taking applications only a week ago, and already there are as many as a dozen applicants who have pre-qualified for units, which she called “significant” and yet another indicator of the need for such housing locally.

The new complex offers one-bedroom suites each with an average of 640 square footage. The monthly rent of $1,050 includes heat and hot water. The building includes other amenities such as community spaces with WiFi, laundry and parking. Taylor said she has also provided office space for a partnership she is working on with the University of New England to bring medical and dental students in to help provide basic health care for her tenants.

Applications and more information are available at, or by calling 207-885-8801.

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