Midtown Raleigh News

Cypress of Raleigh gearing up for second phase

The Cypress of Raleigh, a senior living community in North Raleigh, is in the early stages of its second phase of development.

The Cypress, a continuing care retirement community, opened in fall 2008 at the corner of Strickland and Lead Mine roads and has sold all of its 205 units, which include condominiums and houses.

The state regulates the development of retirement communities, which offer residents various levels of care – independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care – that they can access as needed.

Under state rules, the community must show it has pre-sold at least 50 percent of its potential new units before it can move ahead with the project, and banks usually want to see similar levels before they agree to offer financing.

Craig Huggins, a principal at the community, said the Cypress is accepting reservations now and hopes to clear the pre-sale hurdle in about nine to 12 months. Construction would take about 18 months, and the newest arrivals at the 48-acre community would move in three or more years from now.

The community operates under an equity model, meaning residents own their homes and pay an additional monthly fee for services that include a dining program, transportation, housekeeping and fitness and recreational activities. The community is run as a debt-free, nonprofit corporation.

The new units at the Cypress, all of which will be condominiums, are expected to be priced between $365,000 and the high $500,000s. The resale prices in the community have ranged between $375,000 and more than $1 million.

Most residents move to the Cypress after selling homes they already owned outright. About 70 percent of the residents come from Wake County and another 20 percent from within North Carolina; nearly everyone has adult children who live nearby.

Connie Grant, 81, and her husband, Tom, 84, are longtime Raleigh residents who moved into the Cypress nearly a year ago after looking at many other senior living choices. They were drawn to the community by the dining options, the attentiveness of the staff and the active lifestyles residents enjoyed.

“It’s a very vital community,” she said.

Grant said the transition from a home she and her husband had owned for years to a new place wasn’t always easy, but the welcoming community helped put them at ease. Now, they’re confident they made the right choice.

Huggins said some of the toughest questions seniors deal with is when to make the move to a senior community and how to downsize, whether they’re looking at the Cypress or elsewhere

He cautions that it’s hard to find the perfect time for the transition, but it’s better to move a little too soon than to try to move far too late, when an illness or other setback limits a family’s options.

“You’re at a phase of life where certainty and predictability are important to you,” he said. “That’s what we try to explain to people.”