Graystone Court hopes to fill need, house growing senior population

CDT photo

On any given weekday, artist Anna Chilcot can be seen painting the ceiling of Graystone Court Villas in Bellefonte with clouds and flowers.

The new senior living facility is expected to open by late summer that a local businessman and county official are saying will help house the growing senior population in Centre County.

Graystone Court Villas, at 100 Hawknest Way, Benner Township, targets residents 55 or older. Construction on the 10-story, 138-unit complex began in July 2012 by Jeff S. Long Construction.

Already, there are more than two-dozen units preleased, which is standard for this stage in the process, owner Jeff Long said.

Prices start at $900 and can go up to about $2,400 a month, Long said. Each unit is one or two bedrooms. The facility will have an indoor pool, library, game room and dining room, with other features like meal services for an additional charge.

“We found a need for housing in Centre County’s older community,” Long said. “There is a growing senior population.”

When the Census data comes out every 10 years, it takes into account specific age categories, which shows an upward trend in those ages 60 and older, said Centre County Office of Aging Executive Director J.R. Reed said.

From 2000 to 2010, there was a 10-year growth rate of 30 percent and an estimated 2006 to 2010 growth rate of those 85 or older by 44 percent, Reed said.

“There are a lot more people — Penn State alumni — coming back,” Reed said. “We notice this trend anecdotally and do intakes. … That senior population will continue to grow because the baby boom population is a part of that.”

Long’s Altoona-based company, which owns and constructs the Graystone facilities, has 12 residences in central Pennsylvania.

He added that his company also bought the county office in Lawrence Township, Clearfield County, to convert into an eight-story Graystone facility. Long would not offer additional details regarding that structure.

Long said the concept for the Graystone Court housing model was developed in January 2000 to provide services to older adults with moderate incomes.