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NYC to Develop First Ever Continuing-Care Retirement Community

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Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale. (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

As the average life expectancy rises across the globe, NYC is making plans for accommodations that will meet the needs of the growing population of seniors. On Thursday November 1st, the City council held a pivotal vote concerning the development of the city’s first ever Continuing-Care Retirement Community. “If Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale receives all the necessary state and local approvals and permits required to construct and operate a continuing-care retirement community in the Bronx, upon completion this will be the first operational CCRC located in New York City,” a Spokesman for the state Department of Health announced Thursday.

A CCRC is a retirement community in which seniors have access to a continuum of aging care needs, including independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care, all in one community. In NYS, where seniors make up an estimated 15.9% of the population, there are roughly a dozen CCRCs in place.

In New York City, where the senior population is slated to reach more than 1.4 million by 2040, there are not as yet any CCRCs. This is because strict zoning laws have made it difficult to develop mixed housing needs on a single property. In 2016, however, Mayor de Blasio’s administration approved some technical changes to the zoning law which would facilitate the creation of a diverse needs community in residential neighborhoods.

The council’s Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee approved plans, on Thursday, for RiverSpring Health to expand its existing footprint at the Hebrew Home campus in Riverdale. As reported by Crain’s NY, the expansion on Palisade Avenue is expected to be occupied in two phases in 2022 and 2024. Once entirely completed, the CCRC, named River’s Edge, would include 386 independent-living units, 70 assisted-living units, and 44 skilled nursing units not exclusive to the CCRC, said Daniel Reingold, President and CEO of RiverSpring Health. The Bronx campus overlooking the Hudson River, would increase the density in its primary 12-story building on the north side , and construct two new smaller buildings, four-stories and six -stories tall, to the south. Hard costs of the first phase to be financed are projected to be $200 million.

Prospective residents can expect the living fees to range from $450,000 to $1.9 million, which are up to 90% refundable if a resident moves out or dies. Monthly maintenance fees, which are not refundable but would not increase if a resident relocated into skilled nursing, are expected to cost between $6,000 and $8,000. Long-term-care insurance can reduce the monthly cost. “It’s not an apartment building, there is no purchase price,” Reingold said. “It is not for the wealthy. It’s intended for, believe it or not, the middle class population.”

“Our hope is that New Yorkers can age in their communities with these different types of support,” said Andrea Cianfrani, director of public policy at LiveOn NY, a senior-focused non-profit which supports the RiverSpring expansion.

By Ilana Siyance

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