Construction has begun on the Desert Springs Retirement Community in Oro Valley. The $10 million dollar project is expect to be open in the fall of 2012.

Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

The $10 million Desert Springs Retirement Community under construction in Oro Valley is expected to provided quality housing and services to the community’s retired population.

Terry Johnson, of Colson & Colson General Contracting, said construction began in May on the eight-acre project, located on 30 N. Lambert Lane.

The Hawthorn Retirement Group is funding the project.

Desert Springs will include a two-story complex that will have 111 units on the east side of the property along with seven two-bedroom cottages on the west side.

Besides housing, the 55 and over retirement community will have a movie theater, chapel, library and gym.

The two-story complex will feature one-and two-bedroom apartments along with some studios.

The cottages will have kitchens. Some may see little use since the main building will offer residents three meals per day prepared by a chef who will likely be recruited from a golf course or resort.

“The rent is inclusive,” Johnson said. “One fee includes housing, utilities, basic cable and three restaurant-style meals per day. Housekeeping will be provided once a week, and we’ll have a beauty salon on site.”

Johnson said there is a market for retirement communities that offer everything from food and exercise to movies and salons.

Desert Springs will also offer residents scheduled transportation to local shopping.

With its mountain views, Johnson said Oro Valley is the prime location for an aging community.

“Our market is aimed at independent living,” he said. “If you are tired of cooking, cleaning and mowing the lawn, you pay us rent and we’ll take care of all of it.”

With no options to buy, the rent-only complex is expected to open its doors in the fall of 2012.

Acting Town Manager Greg Caton said Desert Spring is going to be a welcome addition to Oro Valley.

“We have an aging society and those facilities provide a great service and extend quality of life for our residents,” he said.

Besides providing quality living to the retired community, Desert Springs will also benefit the Oro Valley economy.

At the height of construction, Johnson said they will hire 100 employees.

After construction is complete, the facility will employ 30 full-time positions, and plans to hire area youth to serve food.


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