WOLFEBORO — The Taylor Community, which has for more than 100 years been concentrated in Laconia, is about to significantly expand its reach. The nonprofit senior living organization confirmed on Monday that it had reached a deal to purchase a piece of property in Wolfeboro that will allow Taylor to double in size.
Taylor has agreed with the parent company of Huggins Hospital to purchase the real estate known as Sugar Hill. Taylor Community requires approvals of the boards of both Huggins and Taylor, approval from the state, and from the resident cooperative that collectively owns the 71 homes currently on the 118-acre property.
If those approvals are achieved, which David Pearlman, chairman of Taylor’s board of trustees, said could be achieved within six months, the Taylor Community will be in a position to replicate in Wolfeboro the campus that it has developed on 107 acres in Laconia. That will mean residents can move into independent living housing with access to nursing care, assisted living and a memory care unit should those needs arise.
“For us, it’s extraordinary (that) an organization that has prospered for more than 100 years, as Taylor has, and responsibly grown. When it’s all done and completed, it will almost double our size. And, at the same time, it will give us a lot of headroom to expand,” Pearlman said.
Taylor Community already has property in Wolfeboro. Located off of Bay Street, Back Bay Independent Living covers 33 acres and includes 24 cottages. Sugar Hill Retirement Community is located about 2 miles away, on Route 109A.
“This is a major expansion for us. We’re so ecstatic in expanding our reach into Wolfeboro and beyond,” Pearlman said.
The Sugar Hill property currently has 71 residences, split between independent cottages and the Sugar House building, which has independent living apartments and assisted living units. But the 118-acre property is only about 40% developed, leaving room for many more independent living units as well as buildings that would serve for nursing home care, assisted living and residents who require memory care.
“It not only gets us to a major footprint in Wolfeboro, it gets us a major footprint that can be developed,” Pearlman said.
The purchase and sale agreement includes the acreage of Sugar Hill and the assisted living portion of the Sugar House. The 71 residences will continue to be owned by the members of the cooperative. Taylor will eventually purchase each residence, one by one, as their current owners no longer want or need them.
Michael Flaherty, president and CEO, said this arrangement allows current residents to continue living there without disruption, while also limiting Taylor’s up-front investment.
“The bottom line for the residents is this,” Flaherty said. “They’re partnering with a strong partner that is allowing them to live in their independent residences for as long as they want to.”
Pearlman said the opportunity arose during a period when the Taylor board was considering what its future should look like, especially how it could further the organization’s mission while protecting its stability.
“This is part of what we’ve been discussing as to our future,” Pearlman said. “We are growing this in a responsible way that will keep Taylor financially sound and doing an excellent job for many years to come.”
Flaherty noted that demographic projections show that demand for senior housing will only increase in coming years. Taylor is already seeing that at its Laconia campus, where there is a waiting list of people who would like to move in.
“Our mission is to take care of seniors not just in Laconia, but in the greater Lakes Region. I think (this) doubles our strength from a financial perspective,” Flaherty said.
If the deal goes through, Pearlman said Taylor would waste no time in developing the Sugar Hill property. Architects are already working on plans, and financing is arranged. “We would move very diligently in getting to that next phase over the next year or two,” he said.