Wellmore, with its live music and hors d’oeuvres tables at every turn Thursday, probably won’t be as luxurious every day as it was for the grand opening.
But it may not be as far off.
“It’s a completely different experience than what most people try to do,” said Donald Thompson, CEO of the Maxwell Group that built the Tega Cay facility.
Wellmore bills itself as an upscale retirement community. It features 80 assisted living apartments, and 24 nursing, short-term rehabilitation and memory care residences each. Thursday brought community leaders and prospective residents to celebrate a project several years in the making.
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“It’s something that has been needed in Tega Cay for a long time,” said Mayor George Sheppard. “It’s a great thing to have here.”
One of many on Thursday struck not only by what the facility offers but the upscale nature of it, Sheppard thought of Tega Cay residents who might call the place home. Sheppard often joked in recent years that Wellmore is part of a resident-retention program. He thinks of past residents who had to leave neighbors and interests in Tega Cay when they no longer could stay in their homes.
And of residents who now have another choice.
“This is first-class,” Sheppard said. “It is just beautiful. The attention to detail in everything, it’s just great.”
Rob Youngblood, president of the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce, said his group sent a support letter more than three years ago for Wellmore during its Certificate of Need process. Youngblood wasn’t disappointed Thursday to see how far the project has come.
“Everything is done well here,” he said.
Wellmore includes a clubhouse, dining areas, a pool, fitness facilities and other space as part of its all-inclusive, monthly rates. A salon and spa are available on-site for an extra charge. Facilities include one- and two-bedroom apartments.
In addition to housing people, Wellmore staff say their greater interest lies in promoting healthy lifestyles.
“We think everybody can get better at any age, if you give them the right conditions,” Thompson said.
Kathryn Wiley worked in sales early with Wellmore, and now works as a spokeswoman. She sees the new facility as a place where people can enjoy life.
“What really sets us apart is our emphasis on wellness,” she said. “We really want people to stay independent, and we want to help them do that.”
The facility has nursing and medical care available, with resident support offered “as much or as little as you need in your life,” Wiley said. Tega Cay residents have inquired about Wellmore, but so have residents from much farther away who have family ties to the area. The first residents will move in mid-June.
“Response has been overwhelming,” said Sheryl Brown, who heads up sales. “From the first day I had phone calls. People have been waiting for this.”
There already is a waiting list for one- and two-bedroom studio apartments. Other parts of the facility have space.
Staff members say they understand when people are surprised at the lifestyle an assisted living community can offer, but that the trend in newer ones is to offer a more luxurious retirement. The hope Wellmore takes that idea to the next level.
“We want our residents to feel pampered,” Brown said. “We want them to feel like they’re at a resort, and this is where they live.”
For more information, go to well-more.com.
John Marks • 803-547-2353