Residents of The Vineyards at the California Armenian Home in southeast Fresno will enjoy all sorts of amenities – including freshly baked cookies from a cafe, chilled wine from a bistro, a movie theater and beauty salons – when the retirement community opens early next year.
A little paint, some landscaping and furniture installation are all that remain to be completed on the 174,000-square-foot expansion that will more than double the capacity of the discreet senior living community that has operated in the rear of an old 40-acre muscat grape vineyard for 65 years.
The $42 million project, believed to be the largest privately funded project of its kind in the Central Valley, will also serve a growing demand for continuing care retirement communities as seniors live longer and healthier lives.
“The senior population in Fresno is just like the rest of our nation. It’s the fastest growing population nationwide – 75 million baby boomers strong – peaking by 2025,” said the developer, Dennis Bacopulos.
There is a need in the highways 180 and 41 corridor for a place where people can retire and age in place living independently, then transition to assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care as needed, Bacopulos said.
The Vineyards, which expects its first residents in early January, sits on 12 acres in front of the flagship development built by the Armenian community to provide care for seniors. The Armenian Home, which has 140 residents, is open to people of all backgrounds.
174,000 square feet of expansion
Designed in a Santa Barbara style with barrel tile roofs, white walls, dramatic archways and wood beams, a grand three-story building with rotunda and outdoor dining area serves as the focal point of the new community. The building has 60 independent living apartments, 50 assisted living units and 36 memory care units.
Apartments are available in studio, one- and two-bedrooms and range in price from $2,100 a month for independent living to $4,070 for assisted living and $4,340 for memory care. There is no entry fee required.
But the community is more than just apartments. Senior living has changed, Bacopulos said. “It has moved to a hospitality-centered community that caters to its residents with culinary experiences, active lifestyle, lifelong learning, and health and wellness.”
An artisan-crafted iron door with a grapes and vines motif opens automatically for residents and visitors into a foyer with a custom tile floor medallion that displays the Armenian alphabet. An 8-foot-wide crystal chandelier will hang in the rotunda. Both items were donated. Oil on canvas paintings by artist Nikol Aghababyan will decorate the promenade, or gathering area.
Residents will have access to a creative arts studio, library, movie theater, two beauty salons, fitness center, activity centers, and four different dining venues including a formal dining room, a grab-and-go cafe and a wine bistro.
A second floor “Aviator Lounge” with balcony gives residents a view of the fighter jets flying in the area and the commercial airplanes flying to and from the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. The lounge overlooks a courtyard.
For seniors who are not quite ready for apartment living, there are 12 two-bedroom independent living villas or cottages with one- and two-car garages. The villas have small back patios with strips of artificial grass. Pets are allowed in the villas and apartments. The price starts around $4,100 a month.
Executive director George Juarez can’t help but smile as he looks at the expansion and a nearby flagpole area that will display the American, Californian and Armenian flags. He’s worked at the Armenian Home for 43 years and heard talk of expansion for just as long.
“There’s nothing else like this. You have wide space. You have room,” Juarez said about the Armenian Home’s acreage and lush, overgrown property.
This project is about “being able to provide our community with continuing loving care and security.”