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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
An expansion and redevelopment project at Friends House will add new residential units and amenities to its Sandy Spring campus, designed to offer safe, sustainable and graceful aging in place.
Community leaders, residents and future residents gathered on Sept. 25 for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site, located at 17340 Quaker Lane.
The project includes constructing 47 new residential living apartments and cottage homes and adding new amenities such as additional dining venues, a fitness center and an interior courtyard.
In a separate project, Friends House plans to construct mixed-income housing options through a partnership with Homes for America (HFA), a nonprofit housing development organization.
That project is expected to break ground by the end of the year.
The two-part expansion is designed to appeal to a wide range of area seniors, Friends House officials say.
“Our new expansion embraces the Quaker traditions — environment stewardship, community, simplicity, equality and self-determination,” Kevin Harrington, executive director of Friends House, says in a press release. “Friends House is building on its outstanding leadership in creating an economically diverse community, and with the assistance of wisdom and ingenuity of our residents, we are finding creative solutions for us to thrive as we age.”
Three new lodges will feature 33 residential living apartments and seven new duplexes will add 14 residences.
The new residential units, which will replace original buildings that have reached the end of their useful life, are designed to meet LEED Gold certification standards.
Other planned amenities include a new library, activity areas and meeting spaces.
Since many current residents are avid gardeners, officials say, there will be additional gardening areas and green space.
“The Friends House expansion has been thoughtfully designed to promote wellness in the broadest sense,” Harrington said. “By expanding our green spaces, our new redevelopment also allows our growing number of residents to share in the restorative beauty of the campus.”
Harrington said the planning process has been lengthy.
“Friends House has formed many partnerships and affiliations to make this project a reality,” he said.
Harrington said many of the new residences have already been reserved.
According to the press release, Friends House reports that 15 percent of the population in Montgomery County is age 65 or older and that population comprises over 18 percent of residents in the immediate Sandy Spring area. That number is expected to grow substantially over the next decade.
In addition to providing housing and wellness services for the senior population, the expansion will provide additional jobs in the community.
Friends House, located on 62 acres at 17340 Quaker Lane in Sandy Spring, was established in 1967 by members of the Religious Society of Friends to provide affordable homes for low- to moderate-income seniors.
Today, it is a multicultural and economically inclusive community for residents of all faiths, Friends House officials say.
The expansion is projected to be complete by mid-2020.
The general contractors are Warfel of Lancaster, Pa., and Williamsburg Homes of Columbia. Lenhardt Rodgers of Montgomery County is the architect and design team.
For more information, call 301-924-5100 or go to www.FriendsHouse.com/expansion.
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