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Maplewood Commons plans to join the "patio home" community trend next year, but with a different approach.

Residents of ElderWood Senior Care's new development will rent the properties, instead of owning them. But like other patio home developments, it is geared toward people who want to live in a home without handling the chores that come with it.

Maplewood Commons will also be tailored to senior citizens: residents must be at least 62 years old to live there. A ceremonial groundbreaking on the $3.6 million project was held on Tuesday, but work on the site began a couple of weeks ago, said Jim Janicki, an ElderWood spokesman.

The first units are expected to open next spring; a Lancaster woman has already signed up for a unit, Janicki said.

Patio home communities are becoming more common in the Buffalo Niagara region, appealing to "empty nester" couples who enjoy living in a home but no longer want to deal with chores like lawn cutting and snow shoveling. As patio home residents, they pay fees for those types of services.

At Maplewood, some services will be included in the residents' monthly rent of $1,575 to $1,725 per month, Janicki said. If residents pay an up-front fee, the rent drops to $1,375 to $1,525 per month. They can also pay extra for additional services.

The development's plans calls for 36 units spread among six buildings. Depending on demand, ElderWood might expand the development.

Janicki said the community does not fall under the patio home designation that allows such developments to be assessed at 40 percent of their actual value. Instead, he said, the town will tax the development on its full assessment.

While the Maplewood units are open to people 62 or older, ElderWood expects most of the residents will be people who are in their 70s or 80s and are not ready for assisted living, he said.

Maplewood will complement other services at ElderWood's Maplewood campus, such as assisted living, skilled nursing, subacute care, rehabilitation and memory care services, Janicki said. "It gives us a full continuum of care on that campus."


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