An $80 million, 280-unit upscale retirement community in Rancho Vistoso offering on-site assisted living and skilled nursing care for residents 55 and older, as well as an extensive list of other amenities, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2006.

The 40-acre Splendido Rancho Vistoso community, planned for the east side of Rancho Vistoso Boulevard, south of the Monterey Homes subdivision, is a joint venture of The Plaza Companies, a Peoria-based development firm, and Mather LifeWays, an Illinois-based nonprofit organization that promotes lifelong vitality and the well being of older adults.

The project will include 60 semi-attached villas ranging in size from 1,700 to 1,900 square feet and more than 200 terrace apartments ranging from 825 to 1,900 square feet in a three-story main building, said Bruce Rosenblatt, senior director of sales and marketing for Mather LifeWays.

Residents will pay an entrance fee of from $135,000 to $315,000 that allows them to remain in the community for the rest of their lives and entitles them to 100 days of assisted or skilled care in the development's on-site skilled nursing facility during their residency.

Ninety percent of the entrance fee will be refunded to residents if they leave and to their estate in case of death as a means of attracting prospective tenants and creating value, Rosenblatt said.

Additional monthly fees of from $1,530 to $2,950 would cover the cost of providing 30 meals a month, weekly housekeeping, maintenance as needed, transportation, utilities and the use of such Splendido amenities as indoor and outdoor pools, a spa and fitness center, 18-hole putting course, the assisted living complex and on-site nursing home.

Splendido will be a sister community to a 260-unit development called Classic Residence by Hyatt in Scottsdale completed about three years ago in a partnership between Hyatt and The Plaza Companies, Rosenblatt said.

"Because of the success of the Scottsdale development, which currently has a waiting list, The Plaza Companies wanted to continue developing high-end continuing care retirement communities," said Rosenblatt, who was also involved in that project. Splendido will be the first continuing care retirement community in the Tucson area, Rosenblatt said.

"People like the idea of a continuing care retirement community because they can enjoy a higher quality of life as well as know they have the protection for their future health care needs available on site," he said.

"There is also a greater sense of community and commitment from residents because of the entrance fees they've paid and their intentions to stay," and that's illustrated by the formation of residents' councils and their role in programming, he said.

Plans call for the marketing of Splendido to begin in July, a groundbreaking in 2005 and residents moving in in 2006.

Splendido came about as a result of the experiences shared by Mary Leary, president of Mather LifeWays and former chief operating officer for Classic Residence by Hyatt and Sharon Harper, president and chief executive officer of The Plaza Companies, in their work on the Scottsdale project, Rosenblatt said.

Oro Valley came into play when Tucson developer Don Diamond, who is also a business partner with Harper, spearheaded the effort to bring Harper down to look at the land in Oro Valley Diamond knew was available, Rosenblatt said.

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