Condo offers new lease on life
Couple enjoys retirement project within Camrose
For Sylvia Engen Espe, life at 80 is wonderful, so when the opportunity arose for the Camrose woman and her husband, Hans, to move into a new retirement condo in the community, she felt it could only get better.
“My husband and I decided that snow shovelling in winter and the steady upkeep of yardwork in the summer are tasks best undertaken by younger people,” says Engen Espe.
“Life gets precious the older you get and every day’s a gift. We felt that we should think about the future because should illness occur suddenly, it’s good to have options.”
The Espes plan to purchase an apartment in Brookside, a fourstorey, “life-lease” condominium apartment that overlooks Stoney Creek in Camrose, a city of 16,000 an hour’s drive southeast of Edmonton.
Construction of the project by the Bethany Group is expected to start in January, with a completion date of spring 2011.
The building offers one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus den and two-bedroom apartments, ranging in size from about 685 to 1,000 square feet. Prices start at $169,000.
Should a resident decide to leave, their life-lease investment is fully refundable, says Denis Beesley, president of the Lutheranaffiliated Bethany Group.
“If you pay $200,000, you will get $200,000 back.”
Under the life-lease plan, residents buy an interest in both the property and their suite, similar to purchasing a home or condominium. Actual ownership and title of the property remain in the name of the Bethany Group.
Residents have exclusive use of their suite and shared use of all common areas and facilities.
Monthly fees, similar to condo fees, are paid by residents to cover such costs as building maintenance, insurance and upkeep.
If a resident or their estate wishes to sell, the purchase price of the life lease will be refunded within three months of termination of the agreement.
The Espes chose a one-bedroom plus den. All suites have full kitchens with dishwasher, over-therange microwave, refrigerator and stove.
They also come with washer and dryer and window coverings.
The building has an emergencycall system, underground parking, a manager and staff on-site during the day and 24-hour monitored security. Housekeeping services will also be available.
The apartments are geared toward helping seniors maintain an independent, active life, says Beesley.
All doorways, halls and washrooms will accommodate a wheelchair or walker. The bathrooms have custom five-foot showers and higher toilets.
“We try to encourage your independence,” says Beesley.
“It really is more of a supportive lifestyle and by having a more supportive lifestyle, people would tend to stay longer in this building than they would in their own homes.”
Bethany Group has two other life-lease projects in Camrose. Hillside Village and Lakeside Village have proven immensely popular with seniors, says Engen Espe.
“We had our name on the waiting list and we were 95,” she says. “The demand is great and we have people even from Edmonton that are interested in Brookside.”
Beesley says Camrose has become somewhat of a seniors’ destination.
An artist’s rendering of the four-storey Brookside project in Camrose.