Spokane Journal of Business

Orchard Crest maintains high occupancy rate

Retirement community offers 20 floor plans

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-—Samantha Peone
Orchard Crest resident Nan Morton returns to the retirement complex after walking her dog, Roger. The facility currently is home to more than 200 residents
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-—Samantha Peone
Orchard Crest’s Dianna Carter says the retirement complex has a number of amenities and activities for its residents.
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Dianna Carter, director of community relations for Spokane Valley-based Orchard Crest Retirement Community & Assisted Living, says the retirement community has been operating at near capacity with 200 to 225 residents at any given time, a trend consistent with a thriving economy.

Located at 222 S. Evergreen Road, Orchard Crest offers a suite of living amenities for seniors, says Carter.

Residents range “from very independent people and having pretty active lives all the way through end of life,” she says.

The retirement complex consists 161 independent apartments, 39 assisted-living apartments, and 12 triplex homes. The triplexes and assisted-living units are filled and often have waiting lists, and the independent apartments normally have two to four vacancies, she says. 

Despite having 39 assisted-living apartments, the retirement community is licensed to care for 90 residents and is sometimes able to convert independent-living units into assisted-living units, Carter says.

Because Orchard Crest has 20 different living-unit floor plans, rates vary, she says.

Monthly rent for one of its smallest apartments, which includes a meal per day, all community amenities, and all utilities except telephone and internet, is $1,990 per month. On the upper end, a three-bedroom deluxe apartment with a gas fireplace and dining room rents for $4,225 per month, says Carter.

Orchard Crest typically has about 75 employees. It has two full-time nurses on staff and provides 24-hour caregiving, she says. The nurses aren’t onsite 24 hours.

Carter says residents are active within Orchard Crest’s community. The retirement center holds town hall meetings during which employees discuss events and projects happening at Orchard Crest, and residents have an opportunity to voice their needs and desires for the center.

Orchard Crest hosts regular “Chef’s Corner” meetings in which residents talk about food they’d like to see on the menu. Through that meeting, the retirement community now provides vegetarian options daily, she says.

The retirement center also has lunch buffets six days a week and a Sunday brunch, all of which are popular with residents, says Carter.

Menu choices include seafood, salads bars, homemade soups daily, and other breakfast and dinner items, she says.

Some active residents enjoy taking advantage of the recently improved section of the Appleway Trail. The bicycle and pedestrian path runs along the north edge of the Orchard Crest campus.

In June, Orchard Crest staff started a program in which residents could use pedometers to keep track of their walking. After residents walk certain distances, the retirement center celebrates milestones of how far they have travelled.

So far, those residents have walked a distance equivalent to traveling from Spokane Valley to Hawaii, she says.

Orchard Crest Retirement Community & Assisted Living was built in 2000. The company is owned by business partners Norman Lunt and Jaclin Smith, says Carter. She projects a strong fiscal year but declines to disclose the center’s revenue.

Garco Construction Co., of Spokane, currently is remodeling Orchard Crest’s independent living dining room, and the main activity room is being used for dining during construction. Carter says the retirement community has updated areas in the past. 

“It’s an ongoing process,” she says.

Looking forward, she says Orchard Crest wants to “continue to be a premier retirement community in the Spokane Valley.”

Within the last five years that Carter has worked at Orchard Crest, she says a handful of residents have moved into the retirement center because their parents had enjoyed life on the campus.

“We’ve had a number of folks move here, and now their children are coming to live here,” Carter says. “They have a number of other family members who now live here as well.”

Carter thinks word-of-mouth communication is the largest reason people choose to move to Orchard Crest over other retirement communities

Current community amenities for Orchard Crest include an indoor pool and whirlpool spa and a coffee station. The retirement community also includes an activity room, a craft room, an exercise room, and a living room.

Orchard Crest also offers a chapel, a library, a salon, a theater, and has a “Wall of Honor” to recognize veterans who live or have lived within the community.

Outdoor amenities include a garden, an off-leash pet area, and an outdoor pavilion, where the community holds barbecues or concerts. 

Samantha Peone
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