College roommate days could be returning for the older residents of the Rim Country.
Roy Bennett of Silwood Developments in the Valley has been meeting with a variety of people to propose a new living concept for older residents.
"It's kind of a ‘Golden Girls' concept, with four adults co-owning a unit with four bedrooms, each with its own bath, plus a common living, dining and kitchen space," Bennett explained.
Tentatively called the Payson Royal complex, Bennett spoke with the Citizens Awareness Committee on Monday, Dec. 11, about the project. He has also discussed it with Mayor Bob Edwards, Town Manager Fred Carpenter, some members of the council and water department staff.
"The median income of the senior sector is only about $25,000 a year, with the average being $42,500," Bennett said. "They don't have a lot of money available to support themselves. So combining resources is a good option."
It is a concept that is already proving successful in Florida, he said.
Bennett has been working with Bob McQueen of BJQ Properties on the proposal.
Plans for the project include 200 apartments each with multiple bedrooms and connecting bathrooms.
The common area for the entire complex will include a living room, demonstration kitchen, a chef, concierge and masseuse, a gym and spa facility, movie theater and library, a coffee lounge, a computer room and off-site transportation.
In discussions with community leaders, Bennett is proposing a phased approach to construction, building only 50 units at a time.
He said construction of the project infrastructure would be about $5 million and include sewer lines, water rights and lines, utilities infrastructure, roads and floodways, lights, signs and similar amenities, plus management and engineering.
He said the benefits to Payson will be:
- Clean, renewable revenue
- Ideal growth industry
- Approximately $24 million in direct income for the town
- An estimated $48 million in indirect income
- Service jobs and a stable tax base
Currently, Bennett is testing the market to see how much support such a project would have among Payson residents.
"If the support isn't there, we will not move forward," he said.