URBANA — The first of the villas at Meadows Edge has started to take shape near the edge of Urbana's Meadowbrook Park.
Meadows Edge, the newest development at the Clark-Lindsey retirement community in southeast Urbana, will eventually consist of 16 villas in four buildings just east of the Clark-Lindsey apartments.
The villas are "intended for retirees who no longer want the maintenance and upkeep of a yard," said Ron Wilcox, Clark-Lindsey's director of marketing and philanthropy.
"Perhaps their kids have left, and they're considering downsizing to a duplex," Wilcox said of people who might consider moving there.
Starting price for the villas is about $250,000, and so far, seven of the 16 units have been spoken for, he said.
Those who intend to move in are a mixture of couples and individuals. Most are from the Champaign-Urbana area, and many are moving from larger homes, he said.
Meadows Edge is being built by general contractor Atkins Construction, with a target completion date of September.
"We've started pouring the foundation on the first building, the southernmost building, so we can get a building up for tradespeople to work in over the winter," Wilcox said. "The foundations for the additional three buildings will be poured in the spring."
The villas project, including roads and infrastructure, is estimated to cost about $7.5 million.
Wilcox said the existing Clark-Lindsey buildings — which include The Village apartments and Meadowbrook Health Center — occupy about 10 acres of Clark-Lindsey's 27-acre spread at the southeast corner of Race Street and Windsor Road.
The villas will occupy another 2 to 3 acres, he said, and there's no timeline for developing the remaining land, most of which lies to the south and east.
"We will continue to consider what the market needs, our residents' needs, and develop appropriately," Wilcox said.
Wilcox said that after Clark-Lindsey was developed in 1978, a master plan called for filling the rest of the site with duplexes.
"Over time, we've come to appreciate the value of the land. Instead of peppering everything with duplexes, we went with quads (four-unit complexes) that take less land," he said.
In putting together plans for Meadows Edge, Clark-Lindsey used focus groups to find out what prospective residents might want.
"Not everyone wants the same thing or the same amount of space," Wilcox said. "Some want two-car garages, some want one-car garages. Some want basements, some don't."
Clark-Lindsey used Perkins Eastman, which specializes in senior housing, as its architect and came up with three basic designs for the units:
— The Trails, a 1,600-square-foot plan with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a two-car garage.
— The Monarch, a slightly larger two-bedroom, two-bathroom plan, with a one-car garage.
— The Parkview, a 4,000-square-foot plan on two floors with two bedrooms and 21/2 bathrooms, plus a two-car garage.
The basement is primarily what accounts for the larger size of The Parkview.
"Some wanted a basement for additional living space, some wanted it for storage space and some didn't want a basement at all," Wilcox said.
Altogether, Meadows Edge will have four Trails units, four Parkview units and eight Monarch units, he said.
An individual moving to Clark-Lindsey must be at least 62 years old, Wilcox said. In the case of a couple, one partner must be 62, and the other can be as young as 55.
Wilcox said that when people buy into residency at Clark-Lindsey, they purchase a membership, rather than buying the real estate.
There are two different membership plans: a traditional, nonrefundable plan priced a little less, and a refundable plan priced higher but which guarantees 75 percent of the purchase price back at a time when the member doesn't live there.
Clark-Lindsey, which is not-for-profit, also charges residents a monthly service fee to cover the cost of utilities, real estate taxes, grounds upkeep and amenities such as transportation services, Wilcox said.
"They'll have credit as part of the monthly service fee that they can use for meals and housekeeping services, and they can invite guests to dine here," Wilcox said. "The restaurant is not open to the public, but residents can have their friends here."
Residents can also use the 24-hour fitness center and take part in group exercise programs and indoor and outdoor lectures at Clark-Lindsey, he said.
With membership, villa residents have "first-priority access" to services and amenities at Clark-Lindsey. That is, if the villa gets too big for them, they have first right to apartments in The Village and health services at Meadowbrook, he said.
Apartments at Clark-Lindsey range from 500 to 1,300 square feet, and the occupancy rate for them generally runs between 95 percent and 97 percent, Wilcox said.