Marvelle Senior Living Community

The Marvelle senior living community will include 160 units at 61st Place and Thomas on a site currently occupied by a Fry’s grocery store.

A new senior living community is planned for the northwest corner of Thomas Road and 61st Place that is currently home to a Fry’s Food Store.

The new project, called Marvelle Arcadia and described as a minimal-care residential healthcare facility in plans submitted to the City of Scottsdale, will feature 160 units and two- and three-story elements with residential building heights up to 36 feet.

The development fits in with existing commercial zoning on the property, so there is no need to go before the City Council.

The project will have to go before Scottsdale’s Development Review Board for approval of site plans, landscaping plans and building elevations.

The project is being developed by nationwide multifamily developer Alliance Residential, which has offices in Phoenix.

Development plans submitted to the Development Review Board show the property will include 201 parking spaces, including covered parking, one-story parking units and open parking on the site. That exceeds the 200 parking units required by the city based on the number of units in the facility.

In its development plans, the developer argues that Marvelle Arcadia will bring needed senior living options to the southern Scottsdale community to allow residents to “age in place.”

“The ability to age in place while keeping one’s lifestyle intact has become a key element in the quality of life and health for the senior population,” according to the Development Review submission.

Scottsdale Human Services Director Greg Bestgen said that aging in place can be difficult for older residents in southern Scottsdale, many of whom have lived in their existing homes for over 30 years but may need to move for variety of reasons, including the need for assisted living.

He said some older residents may find their existing homes unaffordable on a fixed income because of repair costs, mortgage fees and other associated costs.

Bestgen said it is a challenge to find affordable apartment housing in Scottsdale for these residents as rents rise in the region and become unaffordable for those living solely on social security or a small pension.

Bestgen said that having alternative living options within the Scottsdale community is important for southern Scottsdale’s elderly residents, many of whom have lived in their current homes for the majority of their lives.

He said that being relocated to a new city for assisted living arrangements can be daunting for an individual who has to leave their existing support system that includes churches, friends, longtime neighbors and even staff and volunteers with the City of Scottsdale who administer programs like Adopt a Senior.

“As you can imagine, if your faith community has been here, if your doctors are here, your friends are here, if you’ve lived here a long time – which I mentioned is the case for a lot of the folks we are seeing – it’s very traumatic for them to be uprooted from their community,” Bestgen said.

Whether or not Marvelle Arcadia will truly fill that need in southern Scottsdale will likely come down to the cost.

The Development Review submission does not list anticipated rents for the facility, and Alliance Residential did not return a request for comment.

When the company launched the Marvelle brand in June 2018 with the groundbreaking of Marvelle at Southcenter in Tukwila, Wash., Alliance President Jay Hiemenz did mention the affordability of the units without getting into specifics.

“We saw the launch of Marvelle as an opportunity to exclusively address the 55-plus apartment segment through affordable, high-end living options, thoughtful amenities, specialized programming, a la carte services, rich social experiences and prime micro-locations near premier retail and entertainment,” Hiemenz said in a press release.

One concern brought up by some residents is that the development would replace a grocery store in southern Scottsdale – an amenity they argue there is not enough of in the area.

Residents near the proposed Cabana on Hayden apartment project about three miles to the east recently told the Progress that their area grocery stores are already overtaxed and that they have difficulty finding a shopping cart on most days.

They worry increased density brought by the multifamily boom will further burden existing stores.

However, the Fry’s at Thomas Road and 61st Place was going to be leaving the area no matter what based on a decision made by the grocery chain that had nothing to do with the new development.

In a letter to Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, Fry’s Director of Real Estate Dennis Barr confirmed the grocery chain was planning to close the store when its current lease expires.

“The pending closure of the store is part of Fry’s overall market strategy for this trade area and is not in any way influenced by the pending transaction,” Barr said in the letter.

The plans for the development point out that there is a retail site located 1.25 miles east of the development at Thomas and Scottsdale Roads that includes an Albertsons grocery store.