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Assisted living, memory care center under construction
Will be operated by Phoenix Senior Living of Georgia
Memory Care Center
The Colonial at Historic Camden, a new assisted living/memory care center, is under construction on South Broad Street across from nearby Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site. Phoenix Senior Living, of Roswell, Ga., which also operates facilities in Beaufort, Hartsville and Simpsonville, plans to open either late this year or in January 2020. The Colonial is being built directly across Broad Street from where the city and county plan to build the new Camden-Kershaw County Visitors Center. - photo by Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Construction is well under way for an assisted living/memory care center on South Broad Street across from Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site in Camden. However, it won’t be operated by the company that announced its plans to build the center two years ago.

In 2017, Affinity Living Group of Hickory, N.C., announced it would construct a 64-bed assisted living/memory care center at the South Broad Street site. Twenty-four of the beds would be for memory care patients -- those dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia and other memory-related issues -- with the remaining 40 for assisted living residents. Affinity originally planned to start construction that year with a projected summer 2018 opening and a $7 million investment.

Officials with Affinity confirmed Thursday that they are no longer involved in the project, but did not provide a reason for their decision not to come to Camden. However, an Affinity official said that Connexion Development of Mt. Pleasant was still designing and building the center, but for Phoenix Senior Living of Roswell, Ga.

It turns out that in February, Phoenix issued a press release announcing that it had broken ground at the Camden site, 209 Broad St. The company said the construction project would bring more than 100 jobs to the area and, when completed, will employ more than 30 people.

Phoenix also gave the project a name: The Colonial at Historic Camden. The press release indicated The Colonial will be open late this year, although a website page devoted to the project stated it planned to open in January 2020.

“The project’s architects and interior designers,” the company said in the release, presumably referring to Connexion, “are creating an interior design that leverages natural lighting and common area space with easy access to outdoor patios and courtyards.”

Phoenix’s plans, as revealed in the press release, are very similar to what Affinity laid out in 2017, with slight differences. The one-story building will have 43 apartments -- 26 for assisted living and 17 for memory care “in a secured neighborhood, designed specifically to care for seniors.” A construction permit filed with the city of Camden -- for $6.2 million -- listed 60 beds. Whether that means some of the assisted living rooms would be semi-private remains to be seen.

The facility will also house a bistro, full-service salon, restaurant-style dining room, a fully equipped fitness/physical therapy center, and a movie theater. In addition to the courtyards and patios, Phoenix plans to include a paved walking path around the community with garden resting spots located at points around it.

According to the press release, Phoenix utilizes a “Live, Love and Learn” philosophy.

“Every aspect of the care programs is designed to coincide with the National Wellness Institute’s six dimensions of emotional, physical, cognitive, occupational, social and spiritual wellness, and will provide purposeful and active days for their residents, where each of the six dimensions are integrated into individualized care plans,” the company stated. “All care and services at The Colonial at Historic Camden will have the oversight of a resident care management team who are certified dementia practitioners.”

Phoenix also said that all associates at The Colonial will attend the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners’ Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Seminar, which is a prerequisite to becoming a certified dementia practioner.

“We are pleased with our partnership with Connexion Development Group as they share our unwavering commitment to offering senior living options focused primarily on the wellbeing of the residents, their families and our associates,” Phoenix founder and CEO Jesse Marinko said in the press release. “We are very excited to expand our footprint in South Carolina and to continue to invest in our associates, focusing on our employee-centric model. We never forget we are people serving people.”

According to its website, Phoenix Senior Living already operates The Retreat at Lady’s Island in Beaufort, The Retreat at Carolina Bay in Hartsville, and The Pearl at Five Forks in Simpsonville. In addition to several centers in its home state of Georgia, it also operates facilities in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Virginia.