Rose Villa: New Pocket Neighborhoods and Main Street

“We think this is an innovative senior-living experience. Our goal was to build a neighborhood where people can live their lives, and it can be every bit as exciting ahead as behind them.”

 – Vassar Byrd, CEO of Rose Villa – as quoted in the Portland Tribune.

This garden community in Portland, Oregon, which originally opened in 1960, consisted of linear, one-story garden apartments that fell behind market standards for independent living.  In addition, navigating the steep 22-acre hillside site to access the community center was challenging for senior residents.  Master planning envisions replacing all 263 apartments, over time, with pocket neighborhoods organized around gardens stepping down the hillside from a new Main Street and loft apartments.  The recently completed phase one encompassed 76 cottages and apartments as well as common spaces.

Each pocket neighborhood is comprised of seven cottage homes overlooking an intimate courtyard setting to promote socialization through small scale living.  The result creates smaller, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods within the larger community which capitalize on garden connections and outdoor views.  The “over-under” cottages in each pocket neighborhood maximize site utilization while providing compact floor plans that are sized to be affordable, yet maintain open and livable spaces with appealing views in multiple directions.

The pocket neighborhoods transition up to a new Main Street and Town Center with amenities at street level and loft apartment living on the upper levels.  The loft apartments provide a new option for residents for whom the travel distance from the cottages in the pocket neighborhoods becomes difficult or those who prefer a true sense of “downtown” living.  Situated at the highest point of the site overlooking the Willamette River, the Main Street provides a unique and appealing first impression to the campus, as well as providing a sense of place within the community.  Street level amenities, many of which are open to the surrounding community, include a bistro, coffee shop, garden center, art studio, wellness center and auditorium.  A future wine bar is envisioned for the rooftop “Vista Lounge” overlooking Main Street and providing views to the river.  Once all phases are completed, this community will truly be a garden setting, as it was originally conceived, offering an open, relaxed and communal lifestyle for seniors.