Flashback: ‘Wellings’ adult lifestyle community rising in Winchester

Ground broken: The Wellings development in Winchester, as photographed on Sept. 13, 2020. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Nelson Zandbergen
Nation Valley News

WINCHESTER — Sleek and ultramodern, the largest “adult lifestyle community” ever developed by Nautical Lands Group has begun rising in a field off Main Street West.

“We use the brand name ‘Wellings’ for this kind of community because that is truly who we are,” says the company’s Vice President of Marketing and Branding, Natalie Tommy, during a February 2020 interview prior to groundbreaking.

“Are you feeling adventurous and fun? Because that’s what Wellings is,” she adds. “We’re vibrant, we’re fun, we’re full of life, and in order to do that you have to attract those kinds of people,” adds Tommy of the planned 470-unit rental development. Wellings of Winchester aims to woo a fully independent older demographic into its collection of semi-detached small-scale townhouses.

Tenants will take pride in their new dwellings, she says, noting the designs “are fantastic, and … feel young.”

Available in one- and two-bedroom models (respectively averaging 750 and 956 square feet), the no-basement, wheelchair-accessible designs are inspired by the architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright — with flat roofs, 12- to 14-foot ceilings, lots of large windows, earth tones and in-floor heating.

Posing in February with plans for the Wellings community that was then about to break ground in Winchester are Nautical Lands Group’s Vice President of Marketing and Branding and Natalie Tommy and Construction Manager Alex Lyons.
Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Set to start construction with an initial four-unit display model this spring, the Winchester build follows a market path blazed by the developer’s first — and smaller — Wellings of Waterford, Ontario, “cottage community,” which broke ground five years ago.

Aimed at the 55-plus segment, Wellings residents enjoy full autonomy in modest-sized — but nicely appointed — homes arranged in four-plexes and six-plexes along curbed (but technically private) streets. Catering to a mobile clientele, there is room for parking and some of the units have carports.

While Wellings, as landlord, handles lawn-mowing and snow-clearing outside, the regular chores of day to day life — such as cooking meals and laundry — naturally remain the tenant’s responsibility. Each unit features a full-sized washer and dryer as well as a real kitchen equipped with full-sized appliances.

Tommy says the monthly rental charge — currently estimated at $1,495 (one bedroom) and $1,995 (two bedroom) — remains affordable because there is no “care” component when compared to a retirement home.

“Our philosophy is either you need care or you don’t.”

The average Wellings resident is in their mid-60s, she says, “but we have vibrant people from 55 to 95.”

One of the unit designs slated for the Winchester Wellings development. Courtesy image supplied by Nautical Lands Group

Instilling a sense of lively community in the new neighbourhood is part of the successful Wellings formula. The developer helps make that happen by putting up a community centre — a place for clubs and group activities to take root. Each tenant also receives an iPad loaded with the Wellings app to keep them aware of the goings-on in their midst.

Watch for the large Winchester clubhouse — in the same modern style as the housing — to take shape sometime during the year-long first phase of construction, starting in August or September 2020. The first 68 housing units will go in during this initial phase as well, with four more phases completing the multi-million-dollar build in subsequent years.

Courtesy image supplied by Nautical Lands Group

“We’re really proud of the way this is turning out,” says Construction Manager Alex Lyons, who highlights design improvements (over Waterford) and the high quality of building materials. “We’re using nice finishes to match the outside,” he points out. “We put such effort into the way these look, we want to make sure the interior looks the same.”

Winchester, says Lyons, is “the perfect spot” for the latest Wellings community.

Editor’s note: A shortened version of this article originally appeared in the township’s 2020 Explore North Dundas Spring/Summer Resource Guide. The involved interview took place in February 2020.


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