New 'boutique' retirement living facility opens soon
by: Vern Uyetake, Alexander Ben-Israel, executive director of The Stafford, admires the view from a balcony of a unit in the soon-to-open retirement living center. About one third of the 93 units have been reserved to date.

From the 56 underground parking spaces, complete with carwash and detail shop, to the pastoral vistas seen from the private rooftop garden terraces, Avamere's The Stafford is everything you would expect a 'boutique retirement community' to be, and more.

Scheduled to open Wednesday, Feb. 13 - with residents ready to move in that day - construction crews are completing the final tasks on the punch lists.

'The Stafford will change people's idea of retirement living,' said Alexander Ben-Israel, Executive Director of The Stafford. 'I get a tingling in my fingers. I am so pleased with our facility. It is fascinating to me. It is exactly as I had in mind. We are building a home that people will enjoy.'

He has watched the $30 million facility grow from the ground up and is looking forward to helping residents settle into their new home.

According to Elizabeth Conrad, operations director and marketing sales director, about one-third of the 93 units have been reserved.

'We received several deposits last week and a few more this week,' she said. 'The hot sizes seem to be the studio and the large two-bedroom units. The one-bedroom roof-top garden units have been popular, too.'

A 12-unit assisted living section will open in April.

Residents have the choice of 33 different floor plans for apartment homes ranging in size from studios to two-bedroom suites. All are fully equipped with appliances including a washer and dryer, separate heating and air conditioning units, emergency call system, balconies or patios and some have gas fireplaces. All have one key feature of which Ben-Israel is particularly pleased: A unique view from every window.

Ben-Israel said the interior designer for the project was specifically hired because of his experience with resorts and hotels projects. Avamere wanted the center to have the feel of a resort rather than an industrial care center.

'This is everything they deserve after working so hard all their younger years,' he said.

Warm-toned Tuscan gold paint, elegant carpets and dark wood trim are used throughout the three-story center. Hallways and entries are laid with either hardwood floors or lush carpets, which carry over into the apartments and compliment the slab granite counters and fixtures handsomely.

Residents at The Stafford don't have to stay in their apartments to enjoy luxury and Old World charm, which abounds from top to bottom in the facility.

'Life today is about more than being warm and comfy. How do you interact with your environment? You want a home that you feel good inviting people to come spend time with you,' said Ben-Israel.

The Stafford is warm, comfy and definitely inviting. And all of its offerings are for residents only and their guests.

Situated on the bottom floor is the elegantly appointed full-service spa, a fitness center with hydropool, cardio machines and space for fitness classes, locker rooms, beauty salon and barber shop.

The main entrance to The Stafford features a two-story waterfall that fills the lobby with serene water sounds. On the main floor you will find the library, brain aerobic center for computer work and the grandchildren's play area. The state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, which supports the two dining facilities, is also found on the main floor.

The Malenge at The Stafford is a full service restaurant, offering a complete menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

'The restaurant will feature local products as much as possible,' said Ben-Israel. 'We will serve local wines such as Oswego Hills winery and Kobo's has made 'The Stafford Blend' coffee for us.'

The bistro is a more casual food service center where coffee beverages and quick meals will be served. Ben-Israel envisions Lakeridge High School students working at the bistro and has approached Principal Mike Lehman about that, as well as collaborating with the school to use The Stafford's Sullivan Theater for theater and music performances.

'Bringing kids and seniors together is mutually beneficial to both,' said Ben-Israel.

The Sullivan Theater, named for Jack and Norma Sullivan who contributed land for the community and are partners in The Stafford, will be used for lectures, live theater presentations and movies.

Outdoors, residents can enjoy landscaped grounds with walking paths, a fountain in the front and a backyard pond and gazebo in the back of the property. A 100-yard brook adds its babbles to the peace of the grounds. Those wishing to keep up with their gardening can cultivate their crops in waist high garden beds.

'Perhaps we can use the tomatoes they grow in our dinner salads,' quipped Ben-Israel.

Several grand opening events are planned to tour The Stafford. The Palisades Neighborhood Association will be invited to tour on Feb. 16 and an invitation-only tour and dinner is planned for Feb. 28. The public will be invited to tour the facilities on March 6.

Rents range from $2,300 to $5,200 a month and include a $325 monthly in-house dining credit to use at either The Melange or the bistro. All utilities are included with the exception of telephone service.

Above all the amenities, Ben-Israel stresses that The Stafford offers superior customer service to residents, anticipating what they want and need and providing it before the residents even realize the need.

Ben-Israel defines customer service as when 'I know you well enough to anticipate what you'd like, and provide that for you. At The Stafford we don't want you to worry about anything - just enjoy life,' he said.

The Stafford is located at 1200 Overlook Drive in Lake Oswego. For more information, visit the Web site at or call 503-636-4589.

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