A major residential development for active older singles and couples is planned in Fuquay-Varina in response to an increasing need for senior housing.
Earlier this week, the Town Board annexed and rezoned the final parcels of land for an "age-restricted" community on nearly 400 acres southeast of the center of town. At least 800 single-family houses are planned for the site.
Such communities cater to people 55 or older who are still working and participate in recreational or fitness pursuits.
The new community in Fuquay-Varina will have indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a fitness room, tennis and bocce ball courts and arts and crafts rooms.
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"It's not like a nursing home," developer Glenn Futrell of Cary said Wednesday. "These people are still very active and healthy."
Futrell noted that an estimated 10,000 members of the baby boom generation retire every day (a statistic confirmed by the Washington Post's fact-checker).
"That’s what’s driving all this: We have tremendous demand," Futrell said. "We have a lot of retirees here from throughout the country who want to be near their grandchildren and children. That is a huge factor in the whole real estate market here."
There are 18 communities and subdivisions in the Triangle that are targeting "active adults," according to the research firm MetroStudy. Three years ago, there were 11 such communities under construction.
It's a trend the firm expects to continue among local builders, regional director Amanda Hoyle said Wednesday.
That dynamic along with other factors are driving the Triangle's growth, such as the economy, the climate and the educated populace, Futrell said. "Raleigh has become like a bull's-eye as far as real estate."
Fuquay-Varina, like most of the Triangle, has seen tremendous growth over the past seven years. Its population has increased by 53.3 percent to nearly 28,000 residents, according to the latest U.S. Census estimates.
Futrell's project began last year when he started negotiating with seven property owners whose houses he will have to buy and tear down. He said he hopes to close on those deals by the beginning of next year and, once permits are secured, begin construction soon after.
The area is generally bounded by Purfoy Road, Holland Road, N.C. 55 and Galega Drive.
The new zoning will allow a mix of density with perimeter lots big enough to buffer neighborhoods. There can be no more than three homes per acre, and the open space must amount to at least a quarter of the total site.
At least 80 percent of the houses will have to be occupied by at least one person who is at least 55 years old, which is a definition in federal and state law that allows projects to avoid unlawful discriminatory housing practices that prohibit age discrimination.
The developer met with neighbors in April, and the town Planning Board unanimously recommended approval in May. The Town Board unanimously approved the rezoning and annexation on Monday, over the objections of some residents.
Neighbors have expressed concerns about traffic and the town's enthusiasm for approving development in what has long been a rural community. Purfoy Road in front of the development will be widened before the first occupants can move in.