Chestnut Place, a 99-unit senior housing facility at the Berlin Mall property, is well underway and even has a waiting list for units. An April 2022 opening is planned. The zoning application was approved by Berlin officials in 2019, but then COVID-19 came along.
The COVID shutdown delayed construction, but the developer says things are now going well, according to co-owner Brad Dousevicz, owner of Essex-based Dousevicz Real Estate Management.
“The project is going to open probably at the end of March. We had some delays in construction and considering the construction market, we have been fortunate,” Dousevicz said.
Property Manager Rob Murano said the 99 units are broken into three categories, called “neighborhoods:” 51 enhanced independent apartments, 30 assisted living/residential care apartments and 18 memory/special care suites. Each respective neighborhood has its own dining room where residents can gather.
Amenities include “life enrichment programs,” underground parking, weekly housekeeping, and various types of common areas including a pub/lounge, library, exercise room, salon, patios, living rooms, and a country kitchen. A digital depiction on its website shows happy, smiling seniors enjoying themselves in the brand-new, well-kept property. For example, the Independent Living section promises:
“Chestnut Place Independent Living is ideal for those who enjoy an engaging lifestyle and desire freedom to pursue their passions. Residents spend less time worrying about things like home ownership, maintenance, and landscaping and more time experiencing the things they love.” The assisted living page promises peace of mind because staff members will help residents with dressing, bathing, and medication management. The memory care page promises round-the-clock emotional and physical services for residents who need it.
And the cost? Enhanced independent apartments start at $2,300 per month, assisted living units start at $4,800 per month, and the memory/special care suites start at $7,500 per month. As Murano put it, they are market-rate rental units and are not subsidized. A marketing office recently opened in the Berlin Mall across from Olympia Sports. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can be reached at 223-1351.
Property owner Dousevicz described the business behind the housing project as a family-owned operation with experience in creating senior residences.
“We have a 90-bed facility in Essex and a 72-bed facility in Williston,” in addition to many more independent senior living properties in St. Albans, Williston, and Essex, Dousevicz said. He owns the real estate/property management business along with his brothers that his father, Jim Dousevicz, started. The company is called Dousevicz Inc., Dousevicz Real Estate, 802 Property Management and Mansfield Housing Group. They are headquartered at 21 Carmichael Street in Essex Junction.
“In Vermont, we are the largest locally owned and operated senior home living provider…but we do it fairly quietly. We have a slow and steady approach to these projects. It makes a difference to have local ownership. Projects owned by out-of-state managers aren’t managed very well. Often they become a number on a spreadsheet. It is not like that for us. I’m a third-generation Vermonter.”
More information can be found at chestnutplacevt.com.