Recent expansion brings village feel to Mary's Woods
Construction of The Village expansion at the 76-acre Mary's Woods retirement community on Lake Oswego's south side is almost fully complete, meaning the city will soon welcome 198 new units of senior housing, 40,250 square feet of corporate and commercial space including a community center with a kitchen and dining facility and a 9,000-square-foot wellness center.
The $220 million expansion started in 2017 will take Mary's Woods' residential capacity from about 450 residents to upward of 800 — one of the biggest retirement communities in the state of Oregon, as well as one of Lake Oswego's largest employers.
"This is the second most exciting thing to happen in my time at Mary's Woods, second to only the opening of the first campus," said Diane Hood, CEO of Mary's Woods. "It's wonderful when we can bring a team together to fulfill our mission while sitting on the Sisters' shoulders and the foundation that they brought to this beautiful property in the early 1900s."
Hood has been with Mary's Woods since 1993, and she's seen the community grow a lot since she first came on board. But to her, this expansion proves that Mary's Woods is one of the premier retirement communities in the state of Oregon offering more than 90 levels of senior housing across four neighborhoods, all on the same campus.
The goal of The Village development is to create more of a community hub at Mary's Woods, with features like art events and a possible farmers market that could draw visitors both from The Village and surrounding communities.
According to Vice President of Marketing and Communication Cheri Mussotto-Conyers, the design process for the expansion was very intentional in keeping with the historic style and feel of the campus, particularly the aesthetic of the Provincial House, which serves as the original centerpiece of Mary's Woods.
"We wanted to maintain the integrity of the campus, not only in the landscaping, but the buildings as well," she said. "We didn't necessarily want to directly compete with what we had. We wanted to complement it."
Mussotto-Conyers said that in looking at the original expansion plan, which was shelved after the 2008 economic crash, they asked residents what they loved about Mary's Woods and what they thought could be improved. That feedback allowed Ankrom Moisan Architects, led by the overall vision of George Signori, to design the expansion with residents' wants and needs at heart.
"I had the pleasure of staying in one of our model units to see what we could improve, and when I woke up in the morning and opened the windows to look over Veronica Plaza, I felt like I was in Europe," Mussotto-Conyers said. "It was such a fun experience, I felt like I was at a resort with all these people walking their dogs and grabbing coffee. I had this 'aha' moment where saw this whole vision of The Village come together."
The expansion includes eight new building: four residential, three for amenities and services, and a community center nestled around The Village's square and Veronica Plaza. The Collin, Pepin and O'Neill residential buildings, all named for past Sisters of the Holy Names, opened in January, March and April, respectively. The Kellog building opened this week and features 48 assisted living suites. The final residential building, Rainault, is expected to be completed this fall along with the other three amenities and services buildings.
Those three buildings include Gallagher, which will house the new 9,000 square foot fitness/wellness center on the first floor and Providence Health Services on the second floor; the Reis building featuring corporate offices, a local dental clinic on the second floor and retail services on the first floor; and finally the Nathman building wedge between the Reis and Gallagher which is designed for meeting space and various resident programming.
According to Hood, Mussotto-Conyers and her team of marketing and sales specialists set nationwide records for how quickly they were able to fill the new residential spaces. What was imagined to be a 12-month process took just eight weeks, allowing the project to easily secure the necessary bond financing to complete the expansion.
Mary's Woods has almost completely filled three of the four new residential buildings that have opened, and they're nearing full capacity in all four.
The Village expansion is located in the area directly adjacent to Highway 43, between Holy Names and Furman drives extending east to Gleason Drive. The area was mostly empty and undeveloped except for the Holy Names Heritage Center at the northeast corner where the new Dunn Community Center — perhaps one of the expansion's biggest selling points — now sits proudly beside it.
The Dunn building includes a beautiful foyer with concierge and office areas that lead into a luxurious new dining room that draws elements of Oregon's natural environment. Executive Chef Paul Moss, who joined Mary's Woods in 2018 after four years at the Oswego Lake Country Club, uses fresh local food, sometimes from his own garden that sits just outside the Dunn building in a courtyard between two of the residential buildings.
The community center also features a beautiful lounge/bar area themed after Oregon's pristine rivers, programming space and a massive auditorium with seating for more than 300 people. The Lake Oswego 50+ Advisory Board recently used the auditorium to host "The Event" which brought seniors together from across the community to learn about services and groups available to help support them as they age.
Residents of Mary's Woods and the surrounding area in Lake Oswego and West Linn can expect more of those types of events and partnerships in the future, according to Hood.
"Relationships and partnerships in the community are very important to us, that's how we believe we've built our brand," Hood said. "The planning department at the City of Lake Oswego has been a great partner in this project as well, and they were instrumental in making this all happen."
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