The countdown is on with less than a month to go before the opening of Queen Anne’s newest retirement community.
As the finishing touches are put on the Aegis of Queen Anne at Rodgers Park, the Queen Anne & Magnolia News got a sneak peak at the facility at 2900 3rd Ave. W., before the grand opening on Sept. 17.
Aegis Living CEO Dwayne Clark said out of the 300 or so retirement communities he has had a hand in developing over the last three decades, the latest has one of the best locations of all.
“To find a location that’s in the middle of a park, on top of Queen Anne, that is this kind of size, that has all this greenery around it, is absolutely incredible,” he said.
The location also puts it within close proximity to a majority of the demographic it seeks. According to the company, approximately two-thirds of Seattle residents over the age of 75 live within five miles of the site.
Meanwhile, the building itself is designed to blend in as seamlessly as possible to the rest of the neighborhood.
“One of the things we try to do it, is develop a very neighborhood-specific theme,” he said. “And this is called Queen Anne, right? So you look at the Victorian influences of houses here, and we’ve tried to build something that fits into the architectural appropriateness of Queen Anne, and beyond that, we try to build the amenities and services that we think our residents would want and enjoy.”
Many of those amenities are found on the bottom floor of the building, lining the “boardwalk,” which includes everything from an indoor pool, to a theatre, a nail salon, a barbershop, and a sports den. The main dining hall and adjacent gastropub are sited on the first floor.
In all, the building — which recently received the Built Green Hammer Award from the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, for meeting environmental standards — has 129 assisted living and memory care apartments, ranging from studios to two-bedrooms units.
While most of the rooms have only kitchenettes, 17 are outfitted with full kitchens.
Judy Wadsworth, community relations director, explained the purpose in having that option in a building that already has multiple dining options.
“What we’re finding is that couples are moving in, where one has dementia and the other one is independent, and she still wants to cook for her husband, or vice versa,” Wadsworth said.
She also noted that every floor is outfitted with its own symbol, like a crown or a toy soldier, and has a different paint scheme to help residents orient themselves.
“It gives them more reason to be able to not remember the number but, ‘I live by the solider. I live on the yellow/orange floor,’” she said.
But along with the main features of the community, Clark also emphasized the importance of the smaller touches, like offering vintage candy in the theatre, packaged the way it was 50 years ago.
“It’s just not, ‘Hey, we’re going to have concessions,’” he said. “It’s about the psychological experience of these residents, saying, ‘I want them to go to this happy place.’”
And just as the architectural style is meant to blend in, Clark said the hope is that neighbors and residents also make connections.
“I think the big thing for us is that, we really enjoy being part of a community, and so what we don’t like is being looked at as ‘the old folks home,’” Clark said. “So we invite the community to come in, hold their neighborhood meetings here, do intergenerational programs here, have our residents volunteer for things outside of the building. It’s an interactive place.”
Clark also mentioned the potential that comes with being near Seattle Pacific University, both for students to work at the retirement community, and for residents to potentially lecture on campus.
“We think we’re going to have great rich programmatic relationships with SPU,” he said.
For more information on the new retirement community, go to www.aegisliving.com/aegis-of-queen-anne-at-rodgers-park/.