After putting its plans on hold the last two years, Peconic Landing, Greenport’s life care community, is working with Southold Town and village officials to gain support for a $40 million expansion.
The project would create 16 suites for residents with memory problems, 26 additional accommodations at The Shores skilled nursing facility, 40 additional apartments with underground parking, an expanded fitness center and a lifelong learning center, said president and CEO Robert Syron.
He estimated that in addition to the construction work, the finished project would create 45 new permanent jobs.
“At a time when others are losing jobs, we’re creating jobs,” Mr. Syron said. Peconic Landing currently has more than 200 employees and has been named an employer of choice by the Society of Human Resource Management, the world’s largest association representing more than 250,000 members advancing the interests of human resource professionals.
“We spend every dime we can on the local economy,” Mr. Syron said. The new jobs would be for nurses, nurses’ aides, dining room staff, housekeepers, facilities workers and middle managers, he added.
To meet its current and future staffing needs, Peconic Landing has its own certified nursing aide program. As a result it has trained not only its own staff, but has also provided trained staff for both Eastern Long Island Hospital and San Simeon by the Sound Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, according to Gregory Garrett, Peconic Landing’s vice president for administration and health services.
The economic downturn delayed the expansion plans, which were envisioned a few years ago, Mr. Syron said. But thanks to the retirement of $100 million in debt over the past seven years and refinancing of the remaining $30 million in debt, Peconic Landing is now able to borrow at favorable rates, he said.
“We are planners and we know the demand is there,” he said. Architects from Perkins Eastman in New York City have provided a design and Peconic Landing representatives and their attorney, Charles Cuddy, came before the town Planning Board Monday to outline the proposal. They’ve also met with Greenport Mayor David Nyce to discuss expanded sewer system needs and will work with the Greenport Fire Department to ensure that their plans don’t overtax its capacity to provide protection to the community, Mr. Syron said. Toward that end, the new apartment residents will have contracts for private ambulance services so they will not have to use local emergency responders for many of their needs, he said.
There are over 100 fire and ambulance calls from Peconic Landing each year.
“We are willing to work with the town and the village,” Mr. Syron said. The other goal is to minimize the impact of the construction, expected to take 16 to 18 months, on current Peconic Landing residents, he said. With the time it will take to gain approvals from the town Planning Board and possibly the Zoning Board of Appeals, Mr. Syron anticipates the project could be completed within the next 2 1/2 to 3 years.
All of the construction would be on the western side of the building that houses the community center and apartment complex and none of it would be visible from the street, Mr. Syron said.
Peconic Landing board member Alice Hussie and attorney Charles Cuddy explained the expansion during an informal discussion with the town Planning Board Monday afternoon.
Board members questioned the size of the expansion in relation to the number of current housing units.
“Is this enough space for the foreseeable future?” asked Chairman Martin Sidor.
“We think this will hold us for a number of years,” said Mr. Cuddy.
Adding space for residents with memory loss has long been the facility’s goal, said Mr. Syron. The plan is to create an environment with as few restrictions as possible and provide residents with a good deal of stimulation, Mr. Garrett said. The services are to be individually tailored to each resident’s needs.
“We want to bring fulfillment, joy and peace to a person’s life,” said Mr. Garrett.
As built, The Shores nursing facility was smaller than what the community now needs, Mr. Syron said. As residents have aged and more have needed skilled nursing services, some have had to be placed in facilities outside the community, including San Simeon, he said.
While San Simeon provides excellent care, Peconic Landing residents expect that if they need skilled nursing services they’ll be available on campus. The expansion will allow that to be the case, Mr. Syron said. The Shores can currently provide skilled nursing services for 44 residents.
As for the 40 additional apartments, Mr. Syron said Peconic Landing has a waiting list that’s two to three years long. And with a larger community, he said, comes the need for a larger fitness room and gym.
Not part of the pending project, but envisioned as another step in the community’s development, Peconic Landing would like to build a clubhouse with an outdoor pool and new tennis courts, Mr. Syron said.