La Posada

With Pusch Ridge and the Catalinas as a backdrop, crews for Sundt Construction are working to build apartment and fitness buildings at La Posada at Pusch Ridge. The senior living community is being constructed east of First Avenue in Oro Valley, right above the Canada del Oro Wash. (Sundt Construction/Submitted)

Crews for Sundt Construction are building roads and pouring concrete for La Posada at Pusch Ridge, the Oro Valley multimillion-dollar senior living community that’s years in the making.

In this first phase, Sundt is building 342,688 square feet of space for apartments and fitness facilities on the 79.5-acre parcel, which lies behind low hills east of First Avenue, roughly between Naranja and Lambert, and west of the Canada del Oro Wash.

Officials say the site is ideal for the project. 

“We couldn’t find a more beautiful spot in the world to maximize the well-being of seniors,” La Posada President/CEO Joni Condit said at a Jan. 13 groundbreaking.

“This is a truly majestic and special place,” said architect Jay Silverberg of Gensler Architects. Designs “allow the outside to become part of the inside of the community,” he added.

When this work is done in mid-2025, residents shall occupy 166 one- and two-bedroom apartments in three towers of staggered heights up to five stories tall, each with a view. 

As part of a “hearth” concept, those residents will enjoy centralized dining and fitness spaces, a library, a beauty spa, a bar, an outdoor yoga lawn, a pool with both lap and open swimming, an art studio, gathering spaces, access to recreational trails, among other amenities.

In an anticipated Phase 2, La Posada at Pusch Ridge plans to construct up to 24 assisted living apartments and 24 memory care suites to provide residents “supportive living options if needed,” according to Paul Loomans, senior vice president of strategy and marketing. Once planned single-family homes are complete, “up to 300 residences” will be available, he added.

“We’re excited to be able to offer this great opportunity in Oro Valley,” Loomans said. “We’re up and going, and we’re doing well.”

La Posada at Pusch Ridge is a sister property to La Posada at Park Centre, the nationally recognized Green Valley community opened in 1987. Today, La Posada at Park Centre has some 750 residents and more than 500 employees. It generates an estimated annual economic impact of more than $50 million. Similarly, in Oro Valley, La Posada at Pusch Ridge expects to create “hundreds of jobs,” Loomans said, with “tens of millions” in annual economic activity.

Construction is the current economic activity. Sundt is doing “an awesome job,” Loomans said.

This phase requires an estimated 30 months to complete. That two-and-a-half-year time 00frame “gives people a great start on planning to downsize,” said marketing manager Cindy Barbee said. “We call it ‘right-sizing.’”

As of mid-February, La Posada at Pusch Ridge was reaching 50% commitment for its Phase 1 apartments, Barbee said. The nonprofit company is using digital and traditional media, live events at venues on the Northwest side, and 1:1 meetings at its Oracle Road sales office to tell the story and secure sales. Eleven floor plans are available, averaging 1,300 square feet.

“We’re an organization that wants to help people make good decisions, without pressure,” Loomans said. “It’s a decision people typically are happy they make. People find out what fits them best.”

La Posada at Pusch Ridge asks an entrance fee deposit to secure a life lease, and a monthly fee for housing, dining, housekeeping, maintenance and wellness services. After residents pass or leave the community, a sizable percentage of the entrance fee is refundable, Loomans said.

Local residents are “really, really thankful” they can age in place with “their same mountains, and near their doctors,” Barbee said. “They’re excited to have a community like this, where they’re familiar, to downsize.” Their pets are welcome, too.

“This is very much a good fit for this community and its residents,” Loomans said.

The project is eight years in the making. The La Posada parent company purchased the site in 2014, gained permissions from the town of Oro Valley in 2016, and conducted preliminary site work at what was then called Nakoma Sky. Then, in 2018, the project was halted because of rising materials prices and a tight labor market.

With new architectural and construction firms aboard, the renamed La Posada at Pusch Ridge has renewed energy. In November 2022, La Posada issued and sold bonds to resume the project. The 501c(3) company does not disclose the bond issue total, nor estimated cost of the project. It’s in the “tens of millions” of dollars, Loomans said.

Permit fees to the town of Oro Valley were based on a "total construction cost" of more than $140 million, town staff said. That value includes the cost of the main building, fitness building, site walls and site improvements such as grading, drainage, roads and sidewalks. That figure does not include future phases nor additional “soft” costs such as fixtures, furnishings, design and engineering fees, the town added.

In an accredited life-plan community, residents aged 62 and older can find services they need for a lifetime, from independent to assisted living and memory care. “The majority of our residents in Green Valley never utilize assisted living,” Loomans said. “But they know it is available.”

At a La Posada community, “you don’t have to stress that much,” Barbee said. Its residents are fed — and fed well, Loomans said, because dining is “extremely important” — cared for, and socially active. “Whatever your lifestyle is, let us know, and with enough interest we will incorporate it into our community,” Loomans said.

More than half the Oro Valley parcel will remain undeveloped. Sustainable energy, landscaping and water harvesting practices are in the plans. “We will be good stewards,” Loomans said.

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