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Havenwood-Heritage Heights to demolish, rebuild cottages

Havenwood-Heritage Heights plans to demolish dozens of its cottages and replace them with a smaller number of new units, reducing the overall number of cottages on its campus.

The project will replace units that were built around 1980, and result in 31 fewer cottages, said President and CEO Mike Palmieri. The north end of the Heritage Heights campus along East Side Drive now has 85 units, Palmieri said. The retirement community hopes to demolish 65 of the cottages and build 34 new units.

Palmieri said the redevelopment was planned to provide modern living facilities and reduce the community’s vacancy rate.

“We have some rather old cottages on that campus that we need to take down and put some new ones up to make them more marketable, attractive, functional, which kind of plays into our overall organization sustainability plan,” Palmieri said.

The retirement community received approval from the city’s zoning board this week for some zoning variances needed for the project. The site plans now must go before the Concord Planning Board before construction can begin.

Palmieri said he hopes to break ground by June. Construction would likely take one year and would be completed in phases, with residents moving into some of the new cottages as early as this fall.

“After one full year, I expect it to be absolutely beautiful,” Palmieri said.

The retirement community has consistently had about 40 vacant cottages out of about 400 total units, Palmieri said. He called that vacancy rate “a lot” and hopes to reduce it with fewer, “much more modern, much more efficient, much more functional” units.

Some residents are being relocated in preparation for construction, Palmieri said. Others will remain on the north end of the Heritage Heights campus, where 20 cottages will remain untouched.

The planned construction will extend onto the lot of a home at 175 East Side Drive. Havenwood-Heritage Heights purchased the property in 2011 for $595,000, according to the city’s tax database. Palmieri said the retirement community uses the home for special events and has no plans to demolish that building.

Havenwood-Heritage Heights has been discussing this project for several years, Palmieri said.

“It’s just a very exciting project, and these projects can be very complex and challenging, but our history has been very positive,” he said. “We’ve done some beautiful projects over the years.”

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

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