Legacy at Mills River, slated to open in late 2024, will be the first new continuing care retirement community to be built in western North Carolina in more than 20 years.

“The primary growth strategies for nonprofit providers these days are expansion projects (thus adding units to existing communities) and growth through affiliations or acquisitions. Today, new CCRCs are rare, but the total number of new communities is lower than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago,” said Lisa McCracken, director of seniors research at the specialized investment bank Ziegler. McKnight Business Daily.

Importantly, other CCRCs have opened in western North Carolina in recent years, McCracken said. However, Legacy at Mills River Director of Sales and Marketing Elizabeth Ford told the The McKnight Business Daily this due to fairly recent changes in state law, Legacy at Mills River is the first community in western North Carolina to be built from the ground up in two decades.

North Carolina CCRCs are regulated by the state’s Department of Insurance, which has “fairly strong regulatory oversight for CCRCs,” she said.

A preliminary state certificate allows Legacy at Mills River to collect deposits from future residents, allowing the developer to show the state that there is demand for the community.

“While 70% of our members currently live in western North Carolina, Legacy attracts people from across the country, with growing interest from New York, Florida and California,” Ford said.

Retirement is a top industry in western North Carolina, second only to tourism, she said, adding that what sets Legacy at Mills River apart from other CCRCs in the area is that residents will own, not rent, their homes.

“All of our homes are sold under the North Carolina Condominium Act. This makes it very different from your traditional CCRC. … We offer something unique and different that has never been offered in our part of the state,” Ford said.

Home prices start at $500,000. When the 112-acre campus opens in 2024, residents will have access to private, licensed home care; life support; memory care; and skilled nursing care, if necessary. Facilities will include a health center, five restaurants, movie theatre, performing arts center, fitness center and spa, pickleball courts, dog park, community gardens and a lake.