This Merrill Gardens rendering depicts a one-bedroom apartment.

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Merrill Gardens proposes adding 13 cottages to retirement community


Elizabeth Medora

ANTHEM – New retirement community Merrill Gardens at Anthem is nearing completion, and it may be getting a new addition.

Merrill Gardens held a community meeting in Anthem on Dec. 15 to discuss the addition of 13 cottages in the community. The cottages would be located on a 4-acre parcel that adjoins the current community; Merrill Gardens currently has this parcel under contract, and if the project is approved, will proceed with the purchase of the land.

“A lot of what we do as a company and working with seniors is providing choice,” Bill Pettit, R.D. Merrill Co. president, said at the Dec. 15 meeting.

Pettit said Merrill Gardens aims to offer seniors choices on what kind of home to live in and what sort of activities to participate in. The cottages would provide another option for residents who are seeking amenities and activities offered at Merrill Gardens but still want a single-family home.

Each cottage would be approximately 1,400 sq. ft., two-bedroom, two-bath, and would include a full kitchen, patio, two-car garage, and fireplace. Cottage residents could take part in Merrill Gardens’ meal program if they chose, and all Merrill Gardens amenities would be open to them. The cottages would be independent living only; no assisted living services would be available there.

Pettit noted that Merrill Gardens has constructed cottages in other communities, where space allows.

“We’re not often afforded the opportunity to have enough square acreage to build cottages,” Pettit said.

The proposed cottage site is elevated slightly above the Merrill Gardens site, according to Pettit. The two floor plans being considered for the community have been selected for the best views for cottage residents.

The next step in the approval process for the cottages is to meet with the Anthem Community Council, which would have to approve the project.  Pettit noted that the 4-acre parcel currently has restrictions on the site and that Merrill Gardens would have to work with the Council and Pulte to secure an amendment or waiver. As the cottage proposal is still in the early stage, various decisions would need to be made regarding the property, such as HOA assessments and parking control.

Construction on the main Merrill Gardens building is nearing completion. While the opening date has not yet been set, staff expects that the facility will open in March 2017. Some construction remains to be finished, and the facility must obtain a certificate of occupancy and get licensed by the state before opening for residents.

Merrill Gardens has generally received a warm welcome from the community, and many of the apartments have already been spoken for. Pettit emphasized that Merrill Gardens provides an “energized lifestyle” for residents, with plenty of options on how they want to make their home there.

“This is a special place,” Pettit said. “This is something that we’re building with a vision of the next 20 years of what senior living should be.”