Waveny LifeCare Network To Propose 70-Unit Residential Retirement Building on Oenoke Ridge Road

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A rendering of Oenoke Ridge, by Lantz-Boggio Architects. Courtesy of Waveny LifeCare Network

A local nonprofit organization is seeking to expand housing options for seniors with a 70-unit, three-story residential retirement building on Oenoke Ridge Road that includes access to a range of healthcare services.

The one- and two-bedroom building, to be called ‘Oenoke Ridge,’ would be located in an area where Waveny LifeCare Network already owns property, between the New Canaan Historical Society and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church campuses, according to the organization’s president and CEO, Russell Barksdale Jr. Waveny has a .88-acre property at 65 Oenoke Ridge Road, owned by the Historical Society, under contract pending approval for its project by the Planning & Zoning Commission, Barksdale said.

The 140,000-square-foot Oenoke Ridge would operate under a “buy-in” model as a new, higher-end piece of New Canaan’s “Continuing Care Retirement Community” or ‘CCRC.’ Many seniors who want to remain in New Canaan no longer want to or able to care for large houses and properties, yet The Inn independent living complex isn’t right for them and while they want access to medical care, they’re far too active for the skilled nursing facility on Farm Road, Barksdale said. 

“It is giving them a beautiful condo that is spacious and allows them to truly age in place and have services provided to them as their needs change,” Barksdale told NewCanaanite.com in an interview.

At Oenoke Ridge, residents would pay a lump sum of $750,000 or $850,000, depending on whether they’re seeking a one- or two-bedroom unit, in addition to an all-inclusive monthly fee of $4,500. The monthly payment would go toward fees for services such as water, sewer, parking, insurance, power, maintenance and one meal per day that residents would self-select, Barksdale said. At the same time, as their healthcare needs and levels of care change, the residents would draw down on the initial lump payment held in escrow, for medical services such as memory care, he said.

The living quarters each will include full kitchens and the two-bedroom units will be 1,500 square feet, “so it’s very luxurious and open,” Barksdale said.

The building will include 96 underground parking spaces “and we designed it to look like a very large home, a mansion with extensions off of the mansion in keeping with the very large homes” in the neighborhood, Barksdale said. 

The Oenoke will include a gym, 120-seat theater and indoor swimming pool with sliding glass doors that would open in the summer, as well as a bistro-bar-restaurant, meeting rooms and communal spaces, he said.

It will cost an estimated $46 million to build and Waveny has retained Greenwood Village, Col.-based Lantz-Boggio Architects for the project and has held focus groups with prospective residents (as well as scheduling information sessions with local stakeholders), Barksdale said.

Asked how Oenoke Ridge would complement, rather than compete with, existing local businesses, Barksdale said, “One of the things that came out of the focus groups is that every individual that came that was interested wanted to be closer to the downtown. So while we provide one meal a day, our residents wanted to walk downtown to shop downtown and go to restaurants. They do not want to be confined to just one residence. They want to do their banking, shopping, dine, walk to the train—that’s a requirement from them.”

New Canaan land use attorney David Rucci of Lampert, Toohey & Rucci LLC is presenting Oenoke Ridge to P&Z next week, and a formal application will follow. Asked what that application would involve, Rucci said it likely would include proposed new regulations for CCRC’s in New Canaan, which the Zoning Regulations currently do not address. The project itself also would require formal P&Z approval, likely in the form of a permit, he said.

Barksdale noted that locals have tried for some 20 years to figure out a way to bring additional senior housing to New Canaan. He and Waveny LifeCare Network have been looking at ways to expand the options here since last year.

Asked how monies generated through resident fees would figure into Waveny LifeCare Network’s mission and several housing and medical facilities and programs, Barksdale noted that the organization now does about $5 million annually in charity and uncompensated care. Waveny currently has an approximately 2.5-year waitlist for people who have spent down their money at other facilities, he said.

“We need to always consider how to fund uncompensated care every year,” Barksdale said.

Asked how the feedback has been so far from stakeholders and prospective residents, Barksdale said, “It has been great.”

“People know of individuals and their friends who had to leave New Canaan because of the lack of senior housing,” he said. Of those who have attended the focus groups, he said, “The vast majority of them want to stay in New Canaan and they don’t want to have to go somewhere else to find a residence, so it [the reception for Oenoke Ridge] has been extremely warm and they have been able to talk about the façade, how they want building to look, how they want the apartment to look inside, whether the kitchen is too large or small, everything down to bathroom placement. This is a grassroots project, it hasn’t been marketed at all and we already have a waiting list.”

13 thoughts on “Waveny LifeCare Network To Propose 70-Unit Residential Retirement Building on Oenoke Ridge Road

  1. What would the impact be on New Canaan’s existing condo complexes, many of which are within walking distance of town? On the initial info, it kind of sounds like building a new luxury condo complex.

    How would the bistro/bar/restaurant be economically viable? Would it be open to the public to try to make it economically viable?

  2. Wasn’t the need for senior housing the argument for building the Merritt Village condos? Unfortunate this proposal didn’t come up before the approval was given for Merritt Village.

    • Regina – senior housing was not the argument for Merritt Village, housing diversity was, and one component of that is having “senior friendly” living units. This means one level living, underground parking, low maintenance, etc.

  3. Yet another “not-for-profit” undercutting our grand list and removing valuable property from our tax base. This project should be denied a permit unless and until they agree to pay their fair share of annual property taxes which support police, fire and EMS services not to mention the cost of running our town government and maintaining town roads and infrastructure.

  4. If Mr. Tesluk studied the proposed Waveny LifeCare Network proposal he would see the address of 65 Oenoke Ridge Road – which is currently owned by the New Canaan Historical Society. Along with the wonderful location next to the New Canaan Inn, he would realize the current tax receipts for the parcel from the Historical Society would be de minimis. The benefit for rising seniors and their families for continuing their residence in New Canaan will be significant – not just for the downtown district, but for New Canaan as a whole as this complements the elderly support matrix that includes Waveny, Staying Put, Tele-Health and GetAbout. Lets remember that Seniors are the Geese that Lay the Golden Eggs in New Canaan.

  5. How did it get to be 5 stories ????? another variance from our P and Z ?? Isn’t the height of the Merritt buildings enuf…

  6. Looking at the wing on the right it looks like 4 stories to me even if the tree is drawn to cover part of it.

  7. You cannot evaluate individual projects like this without considering the larger context of what is about to hit us…. The traffic downtown is going to be horrendous with the 1. New Vitti/Cross Street Apartment/Development complex using 11 building lots ($40MM for land alone). “Big changes coming to New Canaan’s Cross Street?” https://www.ncadvertiser.com/news/article/Big-changes-coming-to-New-Canaan-s-Cross-St-14282311.php 2. Enterprise zone in the 2014 “Plan of Conservation and Development” (POCD) – Zone D – around ACME Market – that is as potentially bigger than Vitti/Cross Street development, 3. The 2014 POCD shows PINE STREET & the State Metered parking lots on either side of the Train Station designated for big redevelopment including properties surround the train station like CVS. 4. Study showing redevelopment of larger new buildings on Pine Street (to look main drag on Elm street) and development on Grove Street to Mead Park (Did they remove the historic brick horse barn for the million $ view of the park for future developments on Grove?). 5. The cars from Merritt Village are not here yet. 6. Rumors of another new high-density housing complex on corner of Weed and Elm 7. To meet 10% affordable housing requirement – 7 more complexes – the size of the 3 story complex at Mill Pond have to be built somewhere in town…. See? This is what a visionary and responsible P&Z Board and Town Planner (paid for with your tax dollars) were supposed to avoid – What I am hoping is NOT a train wreck of multiple, independent, large, high density complexes going in a “village”. By the time the town is really feeling the impact – a few senior P&Z members and even elected officials – who rent in New Canaan – and don’t own homes – can pick up and leave quickly. Qui Bono from the over development? Not the current residents of New Canaan. This was actually planned by P&Z in the 2014 POCD with subsequent zoning changes aka controlled growth – but will it work? New Canaan doesn’t have enough parking downtown as it is – people are upset about all the parking tickets. And these proposed Oenoke units are still are not “AFFORDABLE” Senior Housing and also look to be high density – aka Norwalk and Bridgeport. What about living at the new Brightview on 123 instead just over the New Canaan line or Senior housing now planned for Vitti/Cross? Kevin’s Idea to extend the School House Affordable Apartments to the Police Station building – but for New Canaan Residents first – is a good one – but creates more traffic. I would like every senior to stay in New Canaan and not leave. But look at this in context of the 2014 POCD maps on pages 44 & 45 – to see what P&Z, Town Planner Steve Kleppin and consultants planned for New Canaan’s Down Town. Don’t consider this project independently and not in the context of P&Z’s overall plan. https://www.newcanaan.info/departments/land_use/planning___zoning/2014_pocd.php
    Question: Merritt Village was promoted as Senior friendly as a reason to break zoning codes and vastly increase density – is this complex not senior friendly? Quotes from NewCanannite articles: ‘Merritt Village’ Unveiled: New Details, Concerns from Neighbors” …asked how many of the proposed 123 units are “senior-friendly” (all of them)… “P&Z Approves 110 Units for Proposed ‘Merritt Village’ Development” “He added that M2 managing partner Arnold Karp, a New Canaan resident … pointed to a dearth of single-story downtown housing for seniors, pointing to … in town qualifies as “affordable” under the Connecticut Department of…” Thanks

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