Last updated: July 25. 2013 11:18AM - 143 Views
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Wayne Allen

Common Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Medical Centers (SOMC) sale of Riverview Retirement Center to National Church Residences become official on Thursday, Jan. 31.

In September, a purchasing agreement between the two was signed, pending (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) HUD approval.

According to somc.org, “Riverview Retirement Center (located 500 Second St., Portsmouth) is a housing development for those 62 and older located in the historic Boneyfiddle section of Portsmouth. It consists of two renovated historic hotels beside a landscaped garden and courtyard. Apartments are fully equipped and close to a safe parking area. Residents are provided with 24-hour security, locked doors and inside mail facilities.”

Thomas W. Slemmer, National Church Residences President and CEO said in a released statement about the sale, “National Church Residences will continue the legacy that SOMC began in providing an environment where seniors can truly age in place.”

According to the National Church Residences website, www.nationalchurchresidences.org, “National Church Residences is the nation’s largest not-for-profit developer and manager of affordable senior housing and services. With 330 plus communities in 28 states and Puerto Rico, including five Ohio-based senior health care communities, National Church Residences also owns and operates three additional Ohio continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs): National Church Residences Chillicothe, First Community Village, and Legacy Village.”

National Church Residences also operates Bristol Village in Waverly.

National Church Residences has stated there are no plans to alter the residents’ rent structure or remove amenities.

According to released information, “originally converted from a hotel to affordable senior housing in 1978, the buildings have been an anchor of downtown Portsmouth for more than a century. Biggs House was built in 1836, and Washington House was constructed in 1900. The buildings are located beside a landscaped garden and courtyard with on-site amenities that include a fitness center, laundry facilities, community room, chapel, beauty parlor, Riverview Grocery Store and Coffee Shop, and activity room with library.

The Community Common has also learned that National Church Residences has been planning a rehabilitation project on the facility, even before the sale was complete.

According to information acquired by the times, detailing the project, “the property has not had a significant capital improvement since it was originally rehabbed in 1978/79 to convert from a hotel to apartments. The project proposes substantial rehabilitation by utilizing nine percent low income housing tax credits. The rehabilitation plans for RRC include many updates to amenities that will improve the safety and quality of life of senior residents.”

National Church Residences has been in the process of soliciting area communities and government entities for letters of support for this project.

According to Karen Twinem, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations for National Church Residences, they should know about funding for the rehabilitation project in late summer.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or tallen@civitasmedia.com

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