About 400 people braved the rain on Saturday to get a sneak peek at Marshall Square, a retirement resort being constructed in the heart of Evans.
Although most of the building’s interior is still unfinished – all bare drywall and concrete floors – Resort Lifestyle Communities had several finished apartments for the public to see, and a host of personnel from its other properties on hand to provide tours and answer questions.
That team included Chris and Suzanne Bryde, Marshall Square’s new resident managers, who are transferring to Evans from Wichita, Kan.
Although the target market for Marshall Square is affluent and independent retirees, Chris Bryde said many of the residents in the company’s other communities still work.
“We had people as young as 58,” Bryde said. “It’s for anybody who wants that resort lifestyle.”
The “lifestyle” is much like that on a cruise ship or an “all-inclusive” resort in which one price takes care of nearly all day-to-day needs. Residents will have round-the-clock concierge service, transportation to shopping and medical appointments, three meals a day, and other amenities included in their monthly rent, which ranges from about $2,500 to about $4,500 for apartments as small as studios to three-bedroom units.
The community will also have exercise facilities, an on-site bank and pharmacy, and a 150-seat theater for movies and special events.
As on a cruise ship, food – in plentiful quantities – is a large part of the attraction. Marshall Square will feature three -- sit-down meals each day in the resort’s dining room, as well as made to order meals in between from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Later than that, residents can help themselves to pre-prepared sandwiches, fruit and other snacks, including soft-serve ice cream, available 24-hours at day.
The company has hired Jeff Freehof, owner of The Garlic Clove restaurant, as the resort’s chef, who will supervise all the meal menus and preparation.
Freehof said he was impressed by the high standards the company has for its food service and is excited about the opportunity.
“It really is amazing,” he said. “It feels like a grand hotel to me.”
Bryde said that they company already had more than 80 deposits on its 134 available units. He said more seniors are looking for ways to simplify their lives and shed themselves of the burdens that come with home ownership.
Although not retired, Bryde said he and his wife also were ready to downsize when they joined the company seven years ago. He didn’t want to spend his free time keeping up a house that was too big for the two of them.
“I’m not a handy man. I like to golf,” he said.
They sold their home and moved in a resident managers at the company’s Reflection Ridge resort in Wichita.
Bryde said the company prides itself on building communities where residents can relax and enjoy themselves.
“There are too many seniors wasting away at home,” Bryde said. “No social life, no exercise. They come here and they blossom.”