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Bob Maxey

The Rivers welcomes its first residents


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The front entrance of The Rivers.

August 22, 2013
Seniors moving to the new residential development in Grosse Pointe Woods are already checking off items on their packing list. Furniture, check. Clothes, check. Kitchen items, check. Sense of community, check.

Because in addition to the needs of everyday life, the developers of The Rivers of Grosse Pointe, Riverview Health, want their clientele to know the sense of community they enjoyed in their old homes will be encouraged and enhanced in their new homes.

The Rivers is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), a housing concept that has gained favor in recent years because it allows people over 55 to "age in place," providing several stages of residential options. The Rivers offers condominiums for active, independent seniors looking to downsize and get out from under home maintenance tasks, apartments for seniors looking for smaller spaces, assisted living units for seniors requiring different levels of care for everyday living tasks, and a skilled nursing option, including a dementia unit, for those seniors who are no longer able to live alone.

Construction on the 14-acre site began in August, 2012 with the demolition of buildings that once housed the Children's Home of Detroit. Some 26 of 40 condominiums are nearing completion, with the building housing the independent living apartments expected to be completed in January 2014, and the skilled nursing component completed by spring.

"This is the biggest development in Wayne County," said Woods building official Gene Tutag. "We know it has been difficult for residents, but we think it will be a real asset for the community. We can appreciate that the construction phase has not always been easy for our residents, but it is a development that will benefit our city for years to come."

Both Tutag and Riverview Health project manager Tim Kamego, said they acknowledge the disruption the project has brought to the neighborhood, but feel the completed product will be well worth it.

Tutag said by the time the project, valued at over $20 million, is complete, the city will have collected more than $250,000 in permit fees alone. And that's not counting the anticipated property tax revenue.

He also noted more than 150 construction workers are on site every day, a fact not lost on local businesses, especially sandwich and beverage shops.

Living at the Rivers

Essentially, a senior could move to 900 Cook Road and never have to move again.

But the most important part, according to Richard Levin, CEO of Riverview Health, is that Grosse Pointers won't have to leave their home town.

"We know people want to be close to family and friends, their churches and the community services they've enjoyed for years," Levin said. "The Rivers allows them to do just that."

With construction winding down, seniors are starting to move in, with the first residents expected to take possession of their new condominiums in just a few weeks.

Some 40 condos are planned for the site, and 32 are already sold. Twenty-six have been completed, and range in size from 1,600 to over 3,000 square feet.

Units can be customized, but most feature two-car attached garages, full basements, nine-foot ceilings, and granite counter tops. Tray ceilings, loft areas and fireplaces are just some of the features that can be added.

The condos are independently-owned, but owners can take full advantage of the many amenities the main Rivers complex has to offer, including the indoor pool, spa and dining facilities.

For those seniors wanting a smaller space, apartments are available in the main building that faces Cook Road.

Several styles and options are available, including one- and two- bedroom units.

Walls are sound proof, with units offering their own washer and dryer. Each of the three floors has a common patio or porch area overlooking a pond.

The apartments are designed in such a way that many open to a three-story atrium with glass roof, with the complex's swimming pool as the centerpiece.

Surrounding the pool area is a dining room, a hair salon, the spa area and a chapel.

A private dining room is available for residents wishing to host private parties or large family gatherings.

A skilled nursing center, including a dementia unit and a rehabilitation center, are also part of the complex.

"We planned the rehab unit for our residents who have had surgeries like hip or knee replacements," Kamego said. "This way they can come directly home from the hospital and receive their physical therapy on site."

Kamego added that the focus of The Rivers is on the comfort of the residents.

"We want our residents to know that they can come here, have fun and be taken care of," he said.

Information about The Rivers is available online attheriversgrossepointe.net, or by calling the sales office, (313) 885-5005.

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