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Sharon Towers breaks ground on newest expansion

Anne Moffat, right, president and CEO of Sharon Towers, turned a spade of dirt during a symbolic ground breaking ceremony for Magnolia Villas on Wednesday April 1, 2015. A ground breaking ceremony happened later at the actual site of the new structure. Sharon Towers residents and officials were in attendance for a ground breaking ceremony for a new structure, Magnolia Villas, that will begin construction soon.
Anne Moffat, right, president and CEO of Sharon Towers, turned a spade of dirt during a symbolic ground breaking ceremony for Magnolia Villas on Wednesday April 1, 2015. A ground breaking ceremony happened later at the actual site of the new structure. Sharon Towers residents and officials were in attendance for a ground breaking ceremony for a new structure, Magnolia Villas, that will begin construction soon. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

SouthPark retirement community Sharon Towers broke ground on the newest part of its expansion plans Wednesday, luxury “villas” designed to appeal to seniors who don’t want a traditional retirement apartment experience.

The Magnolia Villas will be a three-story, 18-unit building of independent-living apartments. With floor plans named Foxcroft, Dilworth, Cotswold and Eastover, the apartments will include high-end finishes such as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and parking under the building.

Sharon Towers CEO Anne Moffat said the villas signal a change in direction for the retirement home, which opened in 1969.

“Now is the perfect time,” said Moffat.

She said newer retirees want a more active community, with more focus on vitality than on care. The villas will offer a middle ground between the large apartment towers and the single-family houses on the 28-acre site. Moffat said as more baby boomers age and retire, they’ve indicated clearly that they want more choices about the kind of places they live.

“There are some people out there who might want to feel more independent but not be standing alone either,” said Moffat. “They have that communal living, but they’re still separate from the main building.”

The first phase of construction is projected to be complete in spring 2016. The Magnolia Villas will have entry fees ranging from about $290,000 to almost $417,000, with monthly fees of $3,207 to $3,895 for single-occupancy units.

The added revenue will help fund Sharon Towers’ health center expansion, Moffat said.

“The income off of those villas will help us afford the debt service,” said Moffat.

At the groundbreaking Wednesday, dozens of residents gathered, including some who have lived at Sharon Towers for decades. They said they’re used to construction and expansion at the complex.

“We, as residents, understand the need for expansion and are prepared to endure this new construction,” said Robert Teague, chairman of the Residents’ Council. “We as a community must adapt, and adjust.”

Moffat said Sharon Towers hopes to continue expanding, eventually building a “center for vibrant living” and expanded memory care that seniors in the surrounding area can use.

“That’s the ultimate, big vision,” said Moffat.

Portillo: 704-358-5041;

Twitter: @ESPortillo

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