Retirement villages seek to innovate to build sales

NEW YORK: Rooftop bars and dining have been initiated by one retirement village developer as part of an innovation plan to build and maintain occupancy.

Berwick Retirement Communities’ $52-million Berwick House project is taking shape in Parksville.

The Victoria-based builder of retirement homes said the 188-unit, six-storey building has its roof and windows are being installed.

Work is also starting on what will be Parksville’s first rooftop patio and lounge, providing panoramic views of the ocean and mountains.

The company is expected to open the building to residents in spring 2022.

The Parksville residence will be Berwick’s eighth retirement community and will offer independent and assisted-living services. When completed, it will employ as many as 150 people and house 225 to 250 seniors.

Berwick founder Gordon Denford initially balked at starting the project, citing safety concerns and financial risks over the proximity of a nearby supportive housing project.

But he decided to move ahead early last year after the city said it would act as landlord of the Orca Place housing project.

Berwick community relations manager Corinna Ludovici said the facility’s theatre, stage and adjacent green room will draw performers and act as a community gathering place, bringing local schools, speakers and musicians from the community.

“We want to be a part of the community, not separate or isolated,” she said.