Spokane Journal of Business

Rockwood’s Northland rounds into shape

Community will partner with nearby university; students, faculty to visit

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Construction of the $58.4 million second phase of redevelopment of the Rockwood at Whitworth retirement complex is expected to be completed in April—and filled with residents soon thereafter.

Eowyn Sallis, vice president of sales and marketing for Spokane-based Rockwood Retirement Communities, says more than 90% of the work on the 117-unit complex at 101 E. Hawthorne Road has been completed, and 92% of the units in that phase have been sold.

The second phase has been named The Northland and includes common spaces such as dining venues, an event center, an exercise facility, a movie theater, a coffee shop, a salon and spa, and an art studio. Sallis says Rockwood also is creating outdoor spaces for residents, such as a raised-bed garden area, a dog park, a multipurpose interior courtyard, and a wood shop.

The first phase of the project, called Palvella Glen, opened in spring 2021, and consists of 48 assisted-living units, 24 memory-support suites, and common spaces

Both phases of the Rockwood at Whitworth redevelopment were designed by Spokane-based NAC Architecture. Walker Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor for both phases.

At The Northland, at least half of those who have purchased were part of the first group of depositors for space in the independent-living facility, Sallis says.

“Many of our residents moving in were our original group of depositors that deposited about three years ago,” Sallis says. “It’s exciting to see their vision coming true.”

Buy-in fees start at $198,700, and monthly fees start at $2,945 for living units ranging from 850 to 2,000 square feet.

The monthly fee includes a dining allowance, home maintenance, housekeeping, an emergency call system, utilities, and Wi-Fi.

The 117 independent-living units at The Northland have one or two bedrooms. Sallis says the two-bedroom units have a den that could be used as a third bedroom.

More than 75 households are on the waiting list for The Northland, Sallis says. That list typically includes some people who are too young to live at The Northland, as well as people who aren’t ready to move into such a facility yet. The minimum age to live at The Northland is 62.

Sallis says the retirement community has been working with nearby Whitworth University since 2019 to formalize and deepen the connection between the two institutions.

“We’re going to have these wonderful new spaces where we can have lecturers and small presentations,” Sallis says. “Residents will be able to take classes and be part of that university atmosphere.”

The Northland residents will have access to discounted courses at Whitworth University, as well as privileges at the university library.

The community has been represented at the university’s job fairs, and Sallis says she expects some students will fill positions in the dining area and coffee shop at The Northland.

Once The Northland is completed, Rockwood at Whitworth will employ about 150 people in total, Sallis says, many of whom will work at both facilities. Open positions for The Northland include executive chef, wellness coordinator, housekeeper, and certified nursing assistant.

Rockwood at Whitworth’s life enrichment director Amanda Neal is coordinating with student groups, including Whitworth’s student improv group Cool Whip, its debate team, and its ballroom dance group.

Neal says students in the university’s history program also will interact with Rockwood residents for class assignments.

“It’s part of their syllabus. Thirty percent of their grade is to come and interview our residents about historical timelines through their perspective,” Neal says. “At the end of that, the resident will receive an essay of their life story in a hardbound cover.”

The university’s music department hopes to hold concert rehearsals at Rockwood at Whitworth’s events space, Sallis says.

“It’ll be fun over the next few years to see how it grows and what kind of creative ideas come from the partnership between Rockwood and Whitworth,” she says.

Rockwood at Whitworth is the site of the former Rockwood at Hawthorne facility, which housed 95 residents before the redevelopment project commenced.

Rockwood Retirement Communities also operates Rockwood South Hill, a 382-unit retirement complex at 2903 E. 25th, in Spokane.

Virginia Thomas
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Reporter Virginia Thomas has worked at the Journal since 2017 and covers the health care industry. As a reporter, she loves learning about Spokane's many growing industries. She enjoys traveling with her husband, snuggling with her cats, and cross stitching.

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