Benchmark Senior Living in Shelton welcomes new residents

For Jon Gladstone of Shelton, it will be nice to have his father living just down the road.

Herb Gladstone, 92, is moving into the new Benchmark Senior Living at Split Rock in Shelton. He now lives at the company’s Spring Meadows community in Trumbull, but the new location is less than a mile from his son’s residence.

“I’ll get to see my son more because he’s only a block away,” said Herb Gladstone, who was looking forward to meeting his fellow new residents at the assisted living facility off Bridgeport Avenue.

Jon Gladstone said he’ll be able to visit his father more regularly, and the new Shelton community has appropriate services as his father continues to age.

Grand opening celebration

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony took place last week at Benchmark at Split Rock, attended by local government, business and community leaders. They were joined by Benchmark officials, including Chairman and CEO Thomas H. Grape.

The guests were treated to food and tours of the complex, which will offer 92 apartments, with 72 for traditional assisted living and 20 for those needing memory care.

The facility at 708-A Bridgeport Ave. is in the rear of the Center at Split Rock Shopping Center, near Outback and Vazzy’s restaurants. It cost $25 million to build.

Doug Cormack, the facility’s executive director, said Benchmark at Split Rock will provide “a world-class senior living experience.”

‘A warm embrace’

The Shelton location is the 50th senior living community to be opened by the Massachusetts-based Benchmark, and its 17th site in Connecticut.

“We believe this to be the most state-of-the-art technological facility in the country,” Grape said during his remarks.

Grape said the company’s name came from a mission to set a new standard for the industry. “We wanted to be the standard by which everyone is measured,” he said.

The Fairfield County native said Sheton was a good location for the company’s newest community, with nearby ones in Trumbull and Milford.

“We know the area well and felt there was a demand here,” he said.

Grape also thanked Shelton city and business officials for offering “a warm embrace” to the company.

Coming to 'a very caring place'

Mayor Mark Lauretti said by opening in Shelton, Benchmark was coming to “a very caring place where people like to get involved.”

Lauretti said the city offers diversity in many forms, including in the ages of its 40,000 residents.

Benchmark was a good fit for Shelton, he said. “The amenities that people need and want are right here,” Lauretti said.

Bill Purcell, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce president, said the Benchmark facility resembles a hotel with luxurious offerings.

He noted the company has consistently been named one of the best places to work. “It’s not by accident that Benchmark has been so successful,” Purcell said.

Facility should create 85 jobs

Once fully operational, Benchmark Senior Living at Split Rock is expected to employ about 85 people. That will include RNs and LPNs, care aides, chefs, waiters and other staff.

Residents are expected to begin moving into their residences this week.

Among those taking a tour was Dr. Stuart W. Boekeloo and his wife Lori, who are from Michigan.

Dr. Boekeloo designed the multi-care treatment room at the Benchmark facility, which is intended to be flexible enough that it can be used by doctors from various medical disciplines.

“At some places, these doctors might have to work out of a hair salon,” Boekeloo said.

Many amenities

The three-story building will offer amenities such as a bistro/pub, computer lounge with wireless access throughout, age-appropriate exercise room, beauty salon with spa, and wellness/treatment suite.

At the grand opening, John Gillardi Jr. was admiring the 73,000-square-foot complex that he helped to build as project superintendent with Callahan Inc.

“It was on time and under budget” despite the tough winter and the abundant ledge in the vicinity, Gillardi said.

Fourteen months after construction began, the facility is now open. He described the end result as “very functional.”

“It was a great team effort,” Gillardi said of the architect, subcontractors and other entities involved in the project. The building will be LEED certified, meaning it utilizes green design — environmentally friendly techniques.