Developer awaits OK to build

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 24, 2002

A Richmond builder says he is ready to proceed on a three-story, 132-apartment senior housing complex in the proposed Centerbrooke Village development.

Earl Ferguson, president of the Richmond-based Artcraft Development Co., said he would file for building permits to construct the Commons at Centerbrooke as soon as the city approves the site development plan for Tetra Development Co.

Ferguson anticipates construction beginning within the first 60 days of 2003.

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Ray Roenker, president of the Virginia Beach-based company and owner of about 50 acres across from Obici Hospital, has filed the site plan with the city’s planning department. Once the city approves his property as one major subdivision plat, Roenker will be able to move ahead with building the roadways and laying water and sewer lines needed before further development can progress.

Designed for people over age 55, the Commons at Centerbrooke will give the growing number of Suffolk senior citizens an affordable place to live as they age, said Ferguson.

&uot;This type of community is designed to appeal to active, independent seniors who want to be around other active independent seniors,&uot; he said. &uot;They are people who want to be active but don’t want to have the worries of household maintenance or cutting the grass.&uot;

Ferguson stressed the Commons will not be an assisted living facility.

&uot;There will a community room and lots of activities for active senior residents,&uot; he said.

For example, there will be van to carry residents to places, and professionals will come in and offer services, such as optical screenings, grief groups, and the like.

The apartments – all of which are two-bedroom, one bath – will rent for approximately $600, he said.

&uot;All the features were designed with the aging senior in mind,&uot; Ferguson said.

For example, light switches are placed lower to make them accessible for people in wheelchairs and the traditional round doorknobs are replaced with levers that can be easily gripped by older people, Ferguson said.

If construction begins early next year, Ferguson expects to begin renting the apartments by next fall and people moving by the end o the year.

Artcraft owns several similar properties in Hampton Roads, including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Hampton, and Newport News.