First two phases of active adult community now complete

Brian Pedersen//December 9, 2019

First two phases of active adult community now complete

Brian Pedersen//December 9, 2019

Morningstar Living of Nazareth celebrated the completion of the first two phases of Heritage Village, an active adult community in Upper Nazareth Township. (Submitted) –

The growth of the baby boomer generation and the lack of available space at its Nazareth continuous care retirement community prompted one local not-for-profit to start construction on a new active adult community in May 2017.

Now, two-and-a-half years later, Morningstar Living of Nazareth celebrated the completion of the first two phases of Heritage Village, an active adult community that’s been in various stages of planning and development for almost a decade in Upper Nazareth Township.

On Dec. 6, officials hosted a dedication celebration for the Heritage Village houses it completed so far, in addition to the completion of The Cooper Center, a multi-purpose building it named after Susan Cooper Drabic, president and CEO of Morningstar Living.

Morningstar owns and operates Moravian Hall Square in Nazareth as well as Senior Solutions, a home care and certified care management business, in addition to Heritage Village.

Situated on more than 50 acres off West Beil Avenue in Upper Nazareth Township, Heritage Village will include a mix of townhouses and cottages for people ages 60 and older, and will take several more years to complete construction for the additional houses. Once the entire project is complete, it will be home to almost 300 people.

In addition, officials said residents not only have access to an active adult lifestyle at the Heritage Village campus but can also participate in a continuum of health care services provided to them by Moravian Hall Square, a nearby continuous care community.

Looking back at last year, the project hit a significant milestone in April 2018 when, according to officials, Cooper Drabic cut the ribbon on the first cottage occupied by a Heritage Village resident.

Phase one of the project included 19 cottages built as a traditional neighborhood, said Sue Capobianco, chief marketing officer for Morningstar Living.

In addition, a local company, Blue Valley Builders of Moore Township, was the construction firm that built the houses for phase one, she said.

Phase two included 15 additional cottages and 12 townhouses and The Cooper Center, Capobianco said.

Benchmark Construction of Lancaster County built the townhouses, which Morningstar Living named the Heritage Townstones. They occupy two buildings — The Yale and The Harvard, Capobianco said.

For the two phases, the estimated construction cost is $32 million, she said.

Morningstar Living has four more phases to sell and construct and the organization has pre-sold almost 70 percent of its houses for phase three, Capobianco said.

“We are in the business of building lifestyles that enable people to live life well,” Capobianco said.

The organization built The Cooper Center to be a hub for recreation and fitness. In addition to an outdoor pool, fire pit, and pickelball court, the center offers an indoor fitness center, pub, full-service kitchen, lounge and other amenities.

She described the community as having homes in close proximity to each other to facilitate socialization and provide the look and feel of a 55 and older community but with a focus on having an active lifestyle.

Cooper Drabic described Heritage Village as a true example of a traditional neighborhood development that strived to preserve green space and create a place of enjoyment.

“Phase one residents have bonded,” Cooper Drabic said.

The homes are all accessible without steps or stairs, she added.

The topography of the land also created challenges for the development, since one side had a 60-foot vertical grade and the other had a 100-foot vertical grade, which meant lots of dirt movement, according to Phil Malitsch, a partner with Hanover Engineering Associates Inc., based in Hanover Township, Northampton County. His company was the site engineer for the project.

“This project has been a career changer for us,” Malitsch said. “It took a lot of cooperation internally with our project team.”

He also said it took a lot of cooperation with the township, as the development required numerous permits and several major amendments as the site plan changed.

Malitsch said this project allowed him to evolve, as Morningstar hired him for it in 2008 when he was 25 and phase three and four construction is going on now.

Chris Brown, owner of Brown Design Corp. in Allentown served as the landscape architect and said Heritage Village was a career-defining project for him as well, since it allowed him to take on the role of a project coordinator and he’s been able to apply these skills to other projects.

Morningstar’s internal professional staff completed the interior design of the homes, with assistance from DesignPoint Inc. of Hanover Township, Northampton County, said Capobianco.

Cooper Drabic said Morningstar Living named the community Heritage Village because there is so much history and heritage traced back to the land. She said Morningstar Living plans to install a history wall in The Cooper Center that depicts the Moravian connection the place.