Construction nears for Purchase College senior community

by Ryan Deffenbaugh
February 13, 2019

Construction is set for 2020 on a senior living neighborhood at Purchase College, bringing a 15-year effort by the SUNY school toward its final steps.

The estimated $320 million Broadview at Purchase College will be a 40-acre senior living neighborhood featuring 220 homes. The future manager of the community, Life Care Services, expects to start taking reservations soon for the residences.

The homes will be available to people age 62 or older, split between 174 one- and two-bedroom apartments with underground reserved parking, and 46 two-bedroom villas with attached two-car garages. A quarter of the apartments, 44, have been designated for affordable living, representing the state required 20 percent of all units. Aualified Westchester County residents will receive priority for 50 percent of the affordable residences, also keeping with state regulations.

The college will work to integrate the community into its campus through a Learning Commons, which would feature seminar rooms, performance and exhibition space, a computer lab and art studios. Other amenities includes multiple dining venues, a movie theater, pool, fitness center, spa and salon.

“Having the senior learning community on campus will lead to a creative synergy between youth and experience, fostering an alliance of energy and wisdom that benefits everyone,” college President Thomas J. Schwarz said.

Schwarz, who plans to retire this year, has overseen the the senior living initiative since its outset in 2003. Nearing its second decade, the effort to bring homes for Westchester’s seniors to the state college has required some legislative wrangling.

A bill to allow the school to lease the land for the senior living campus first circulated the state Legislature in the early 2000s before finally passing both houses in 2008. But the bill was vetoed by Gov. David Paterson, who said he wanted a more comprehensive approach to leasing SUNY land. It wasn’t until 2011 that a bill was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow the school to lease about 40 acres to its nonprofit Purchase College Advancement Corp.

The college nonprofit came forward with finalized plans in 2017, for which it has partnered with the Iowa-based Life Care Services, the nation’s third-largest manager of senior living communities. LCS is developing the community in partnership with Harrison’s Senior Care Development.

The state legislation designates that 75 percent of the project’s proceeds go to scholarships at the college and 25 percent go to hiring full-time faculty.

The Westchester County Local Development Corp. voted last year to issue tax-exempt revenue bond anticipation notes, estimated at $12 million but not exceeding $15 million, to pay costs of financing the first phase of a senior living facility. The college has state approval to build up to 385 units on campus, but the composition of any future units is not yet decided.

Broadview will be on the southwest portion of the 500-acre campus. About 10 acres of the site will be dedicated as open space, with trails and outdoor activity space for the residents and students. The legislation that allows for Broadview requires the school to designate 80 acres on another part of campus as permanent open space.

Purchase College has long pitched the community as a place where seniors can continue learning and remain engaged with the school, including through the events at the Performing Arts Center and Neuberger Museum of Art.

The general contractor for Broadview is Whiting-Turner, which will oversee the project from its regional office in White Plains. HCM Design of Baltimore is the community’s architect and Merlino Design Partnership of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania is the interior designer.

Correction Feb. 13:

The article has been updated to reflect the residential units are apartments and villas, not townhomes. A reference to plans for the second phase of the project has also been corrected.