Catholic Courier

Posted: December 6, 2012

Last Updated: February 12, 2013

The new Beatrice Place senior-living community will occupy the former Our Lady of Mercy Church and school in Greece.

Senior-housing project will reuse Mercy campus

By Amy Kotlarz/Catholic Courier

The history of a former Catholic church and school in Greece will be on permanent display at a new senior-living community on the former Our Lady of Mercy campus.

Interpretive panels on Our Lady of Mercy’s history will hang at the new Beatrice Place, which will be developed and run by Episcopal SeniorLife Communities. The $6.8 million project will add 73 units of mid-price-range apartments for seniors. Construction is anticipated to begin in December and be completed by September 2013.

The school, which closed in 1980, will be renovated and converted into apartments. The church, which closed in 2010, will be divided into two floors that will feature apartment spaces, common areas, a café, an exercise room, a kitchen, a library and a chapel that will reuse the existing altar and stained glass.

"We are really trying to reuse as much as possible in a way that honors and is respectful of the community that is related to Our Lady of Mercy," said Lisa Marcello, vice president/chief financial officer and project manager for Episcopal SeniorLife Communities. "We have done a lot of talking to parishioners. We want to respect that and preserve that as we create a new community for seniors."

The former rectory will be razed, and apartments will be built on its site. Some building materials from the rectory will be reused in the construction of the new structure; for example, mahogany wood from the rectory will be reused.

"We did a lot of work to understand what components could be preserved and also we worked with the town of Greece’s preservation committee and the architect James Johnson," said Marcello, who noted Johnson also designed the local landmark "The Mushroom House" in Pittsford and St. John the Evangelist Church in Greece.

A housing specialist will be based at the apartments to manage the facility and provide some case management connecting residents in need of services with community resources.

"The housing specialist will also be responsible for coordinating any in-house programming, such as exercise classes," said Courtney McGinness, marketing director for Episcopal SeniorLife Communities. "Educational opportunities will be offered for residents in terms of wellness education."

The project will be marketed to middle-income seniors 65 years and older, with rents for the one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from $825 to $1,100 including utilities. McGinness said Episcopal SeniorLife Communities researchers had determined that mid-market senior housing was needed in this area of Greece. Marcello said the project may help the older neighborhood where the campus is located to draw in new families, while allowing seniors to continue living in a neighborhood in which they were comfortable.

"The people we were speaking with at the town of Greece really thought it would help to preserve the tax base of the neighborhood and the property values of the homes of the neighborhood and keep it with a strong sense of community," Marcello said.

Beatrice Place will be Episcopal SeniorLife Communities’ seventh community and fifth campus in Monroe County; it also operates The Episcopal Church Home, The Center for Rehabilitation, River Edge Manor, Brentland Woods and Seabury Woods, and it also is constructing Rockwood Center.

Marcello said the name of Beatrice Place is in honor of Beatrice Stahl-Briggs, a longtime Episcopal SeniorLife Communities supporter who valued independent living.

"This community allows people to be as independent as they can be for as long as possible," Marcello said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For details, contact Courtney McGinness at 585-546-8400, ext. 3145.