At its monthly breakfast meeting Tuesday, Winthrop Chamber of Commerce members heard a presentation from James P. Roberston Jr. and Jason Robertson about the assisted living residential facility planned for the former Winthrop Hospital site.
Robertson Jr., who represents Winthrop Manor Development, considered different proposals from individuals and groups looking to develop the property.
“We thought we could develop the parcel in a better way, more responsible, and be of more benefit to the community if we were able to develop it as an assisted living facility,” said Robertson Jr.
He said his company connected with Jason Robertson (not related) of The Gralia Group and the two parties came to an agreement on a 20-year lease for the property.
Robertson Jr. said his uncle, Tom Donnelly and his brother, Michael Robertson, will be responsible for the actual construction of the facility.
“Over the summer we’ll be in full swing turning this building into an assisted living facility,” said Robertson Jr., who projected an opening date for the summer of 2014.
Jason Robertson said The Gralia Group is a family-run business that owns and operates six assisted living facilities. “We’re ground up developers – we buy land, develop it, own and operate it.”
Robertson said the new facility will be known as “The Arbors at Winthrop.”
“All the employees will be hired locally which is a great benefit to the town, in addition to the monetary benefits,” he said. “But beyond that I think it’s important that the people of Winthrop, the elderly people and the caregivers have a place to put their parents in Winthrop. Right now they have to go to Revere, East Boston, or Salem – I just think it ill be great for people who have lived here their whole lives to stay.”
Robertson said the facility will have 17 independent living units, 51 traditional assisted living apartments, and 22 memory-care apartments. “It’s a nice continuum of care – some facilities only do one of those three, this facility will have all three.”
The facility will provide residents three meals a day, housekeeping, and transportation. A registered nurse is on staff full time. Robertson said there is a busy schedule of daily activities for residents at the facility.
He expects to begin the framing, plumbing, and electrical work for the new facility in March.
Asked by a guest at the breakfast whether the facility would give preferential treatment to Winthrop applicants, Roberston replied, “There is no set-aside [apartments] for Winthrop residents, but what we’ve seen in our other existing deals is 50 to 60 per cent of the residents end up coming from the town we’re located in.”