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Plans for “Skyline Commons,” the first-ever Lifecare Retirement Community of its kind in New York City, have been shelved by the Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
The ambitious project, planned to occupy a 10-story Art Deco building on the campus of Queens Hospital Center was to have created a community of studio through two-bedroom penthouse apartments that added long term care to a list of amenities.
“The project became a casualty of the real estate meltdown and the faltering economy,” said Gerald Hart, Executive Director of the Tietz Center. “While prospective residents only needed to put down a $1,000 deposit,” he explained, “They needed a 10 percent deposit to secure eligibility for Lifecare.
“In the current situation, people couldn’t secure financing and couldn’t sell homes in such a depressed market,” he observed. “It’s a shame - they were truly disappointed.”
Skyline Commons was to be operated as a non-profit entity by professional management. The “entrance fees” were on par with comparable housing prices, and a minimum of 90 percent of the fee was refundable to the resident’s estate.
A gourmet restaurant, bistro and cocktail lounge, Library, performance center, convenience market, day spa, aquatic center with pool and sauna and rooftop garden were among the included amenities.
The monthly service fee included 24-hour security, 30 executive-chef-created meals per month with choice of venues, housekeeping, cooking and laundry services, all utilities except telephone and cable, scheduled transportation, a concierge, valet parking and more.
What set it above other retirement communities was 24-hour emergency services included healthcare in the on-site wellness center and the proximity of a major metropolitan hospital.
Lifecare is the most popular retirement choice, according to Hart, who explained that prospective residents have to demonstrate they are self-sufficient to meet the age, income and health requirements.
“Every other state requires re-qualifying 30 to 60 days before moving in,” he said. “In New York, you only have to qualify when you put down the 10 percent deposit,” Hart added. “It’s the ultimate in retirement planning.”
Hart said that as promised, all deposits had been held in an escrow account and were fully refunded with interest.
“We have to base ourselves on what can succeed in the community,” Hart said, adding, “With conditions looking the way they do for the foreseeable future, we’re exploring health related options for the benefit of the community.”
Hart conceded that it may be years before the economy improves enough to make the Skyline Commons concept a viable option. “That’s little consolation to those people who got their deposits back,” he said. “It’s sad.”

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