Housing complex to have affinity for retiree lifestyles

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WALLA WALLA -- A more than $10 million residential development targeted to the 55-and-older crowd is under construction along State Route 125 and may be ready for move-in as early as December, operators say.

Affinity at Walla Walla -- formerly known as Traditions at Walla Walla -- is a 120-unit complex of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments offering an array of choices from food service to housekeeping so residents can build their own lifestyles.

Spokane-based Inland Washington LLC is the developer. Its construction division is building the complex next to Applebee's, said Sherry Vincent, regional supervisor for California-based FPI Management. Vincent will oversee operations at Affinity and similar operations in the works in other communities.

Walla Walla is one of seven locations from Seattle to Colorado where Inland Washington plans to build its independent living facilities. The structure is at 1706 Fairway Drive, the latest development near the Plaza Shopping Center. Residents are expected to enter through Fairway Drive, though the parking lot stretch next to Safeway will also lead into the development.

During a visit to Walla Walla mid-June, Vincent said the 100,584-square-foot structure is unlike anything else in the community. Where most developments of its size have an assisted-living component, Affinity is intended as a lifestyle complex for residents who want a central location near services in an environment that offers entertainment, transportation to major events and a selection of activities in the home without the demands of maintenance at a traditional house.

Walla Walla was selected as a location for Affinity because of its continued popularity as a retiree destination, she said.

Developers are shooting for a December opening. Vincent said the apartments come with full kitchens, washers and dryers, Internet and cable.

Housekeeping services and catered meals can be added to amenities, Vincent said. She said the operation will contract with local services for options.

Additionally, the facility will have a theater and wellness center, a pub and lounge for events at the facility, an Internet cafe, a craft room and library, a game room, walking trail, barbecue area and community garden.

"We're going to provide (residents) choices right there where they live," Vincent said. She said the central location next to Safeway and other shopping and services is another attraction. The operation also will likely offer carpooling and busing to major events for residents.

Lease rates have yet to be set. Vincent declined to disclose a price range. Pre-leasing is to start in September.

Vincent plans to begin the process of hiring staff at the beginning of August. The operation will be run with the help of about five employees: a community director, assistant manager, maintenance supervisor, housekeeper and possible part-time employee.

Affinity at Walla Walla is accepting "pre-opening reservations." Those who sign up are entered into a raffle for three months of free rent. The raffle takes place Sept. 30. To learn more about it and the complex, visit: www.Affinityforliving.com or call 522-0725.

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