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2Life Communities announces Opus Newton

By Jewish Journal – NEWTON — 2Life Commun­ities is proud to announce the development of Opus, a unique middle-income housing option for adults aged 62 and up. Opus Newton, the first senior living community under the Opus model, is a creative prototype designed to put living in community within reach so that all seniors have the opportunity to live a full life of connection and purpose in a dynamic, supportive environment.

Opus Newton, which will be connected to 2Life’s Coleman House on the campus of the Greater Boston JCC, will feature 174 residences, with more than eight one- and two-bedroom options ranging in size from 650 square feet to 1,350 square feet. Priority deposits are now open to those interested in being among the first to have an opportunity to reserve an apartment when formal reservations begin in April 2022.

“Opus represents a groundbreaking opportunity for us to reimagine the future of senior living for middle-income older adults,” said 2Life Communities President and CEO Amy Schectman. “Far too often we have been left heartbroken by having to turn away people from our communities because their incomes are too high – sometimes only by a very small amount – to qualify for affordable housing. Opus allows us to offer middle-income adults who are underserved and underseen in the current marketplace a new community-focused housing option. Our hope is to develop Opus communities across Greater Boston and be a beacon of change for those who want to replicate our model around the country.”

In creating Opus, 2Life is offering a whole new kind of community within the financial reach of the middle-income, a group that does not qualify for subsidized housing but isn’t comfortable with the upscale options in the traditional regional senior living marketplace.

After the Newton City Coun­cil unanimously voted to approve plans this past fall, Opus’s priority deposit process began in early November, with interested parties placing a $500 fully refundable deposit for the opportunity to reserve their spot in Opus starting in April. Once 70 percent of apartments are reserved, construction on Opus Newton will begin. Planners anticipate a 24-month construction process.

Here are three key components that make the Opus model possible. First, Opus residents will take an active role in their community by pledging to volunteer approximately 10 hours a month of their time. These contributions can include teaching a course, offering professional expertise, or lending one’s time to a number of community projects, creating an environment of collective contribution and purpose.

Second, Opus’s health care options are centered around giving people the ability to stay in their homes and have health care providers come to them. Rather than building costly care centers, Opus will have on-site care advocates and partnerships with providers to help keep care more affordable.

Finally, Opus’s location in Newton will allow residents to tap into the neighborhood and become part of the broader community rather than creating expensive enclaves that are often isolated from other generations and neighbors. Going forward, Opus communities will adhere to this model, with development taking place in locations that are already hubs of activity. Opus Newton will be joined to the Coleman House by a two-story connector filled with light. The connector will encompass a café and art studio, plus classroom and meeting space. The outside will include patios, gardens, and walking trails that connect to campus amenities at the JCC and Coleman House, Newton Community Farm, and Nahanton Park.

“When Opus appeared on our radar, we both felt a strong connection,” said Linda Helfet and Bill Hilliker, who were among the first to put down a priority deposit. “It was like finding an old friend who knows your interests, aesthetics, and values.”