Vi at Bentley Village in Naples plans multimillion-dollar makeover | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors
Vi at Bentley Village is getting yet another multimillion-dollar makeover.
The resort-style senior living community in North Naples has announced a $41 million redevelopment project that will update and expand its skilled nursing and assisted living residences — and enhance the care services that go along with them.
The planned improvements are the final phase of a larger overhaul started more than a decade ago, to not only keep current, but stay ahead of the competition.
Penny Smith joined the continuing care, or life plan, community as its executive director in 2016, with the fourth phase of the redevelopment plan well underway. She shepherded it through completion — then oversaw another phase of multimillion-dollar community improvements that concluded in 2019.
Combined, the last two phases of redevelopment cost $130 million. Those upgrades, made for the benefit of its independent living residents, included more than 120 new apartments, two new clubhouses and a state-of-the-art golf studio.
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The sixth — and final — phase of transformative construction is something that has been talked about for years. The latest project will give residents everything they could have hoped for in its care venues, and more, thanks to the ownership’s vision, planning and drive to “get it right,” Smith said.
“It really has been an evolution,” she said. “It was no ‘one and done.’ It has been a very complex process.”
Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2021 — and take about 18 months.
The redevelopment will create 84 private one-bedroom apartments for assisted living, eliminating shared ones, while expanding capacity.
The renovated building will also have 15 memory support apartments for residents dealing with dementia, or other brain disorders, who require an extra level of care.
At the Bentley Care Center, which offers skilled nursing, resident rooms will also get a major redo to enhance privacy. The new design will feature a total of 84 private rooms — all with private bathrooms. A new north wing will support added capacity, with no more shared rooms.
“It’s going to be really a masterpiece for the residents,” Smith said, “because this is what they have longed for.”
The building’s common areas will also see big improvements. That will include a new nurses’ station, as well as grander spaces for meetings, arts and crafts, games and dining.
“There are many great elements to our redesign that we are already so excited about because the residents are excited,” Smith said.
The highly-anticipated improvements will also include a new building, known as The Center for Living Well, which will house support services, such as therapy, wellness and home health, designed for its long-term nursing care residents.
The new center will span 5,700 square feet, offering state-of-the-art occupational and physical therapy equipment. It will include a large courtyard for therapy outdoors, with different surfaces to walk, climb and stretch on.
One of the main objectives of the upcoming construction project is to create a seamless transition between independent and assisted living, making them equally prestigious, Smith said.
“They are just going to flow beautifully and people won’t be fearful of ‘my life is going to look so different,'” she said. “We are really trying to bring them a lifestyle in these buildings that they are accustomed to.”
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Classic Residence, which later rebranded as Vi, acquired Bentley Village in 1992. While it was the Chicago-based company’s first purchase of a continuing care retirement community, it now operates 10 across the country.
John Hoover, a vice president of project management and development for Vi, said he’s worked on improvement projects at the local community since joining the ownership company in 1997, with the goal of beating the competition and exceeding residents’ changing expectations and needs.
He described the latest project as “quite involved.”
“We just wanted to get it right,” Smith added. “So we were taking our time.”
The big investments in Bentley Village aren’t necessarily designed to draw more residents, or to steal residents away from the competition, but to ensure the community lives up to its reputation as a top-notch place for seniors to live out the rest of their lives, Smith said.
“Will it bring in more residents? I mean we are sitting at 95% occupancy. I don’t know,” she said.
She’s happy to have maintained such a high level of occupancy over the years.
“You can’t let things deteriorate and expect you are going to maintain the same reputation and that strength of numbers in the market,” Smith said. “So you have to keep a competitive eye on what you’re good at and keep getting better. You can’t stop.”
He describes Bentley Village, which celebrated its 35th anniversary last year, as a premier asset.
It’s unique in many ways, he points out, sitting on 156 acres, with more than 12 miles of walking trails, an 18-hole, par 3 golf course and stocked fishing lakes that make it difficult, if not impossible to replicate, especially in the Naples area — where land is now more scarce and more costly.
Bentley Village has received accolades and awards for its architecture, design and services — as well earning recognition as a great place to work.
“Our reputation is everyting to us,” Smith said. “And that’s why we are adamant about keeping our brand pure and keeping our core values in front of us — and being that leader.”
Vi has chosen Suffolk Construction, based in Estero, as the general contractor for the upcoming project. The contractor carried out Bentley Village’s last big redevelopment project completed in 2019, which included 51 new independent living residences.
Despite the current labor and supply shortages in construction, Hoover said he still expects the project to go smoothly because Suffolk is an experienced contractor with a proven track record.
Residents are eager to see the project get started.
Carolyn Fulton, 85, who sits on the community’s Resident Council, said she’s thrilled with the planned improvements, even though she still lives independently in the community — and hasn’t needed any care services since moving in eight years ago.
“This whole plan is welcomed with open arms by residents,” she said. “It’s so great that corporate is doing that.”
She said she doesn’t mind the construction, despite the noise and dust.
“I think we’ve had a few years with no construction, but you know construction is always good,” Fulton said.