BLOOMFIELD — A developer plans to build 253 residences for senior citizens in an 18-acre project in Bloomfield known as WaterFall Living Community.

The $79 million project envisions a mix of unassisted apartment living, assisted living and hospice and end-of-life care and will serve a range of individuals from independent seniors to those who need skilled nursing.

The developer, GlobalWorks of Durango, Colo., has under contract a plot of land on East Blanco Boulevard off of U.S. Highway 550 in Bloomfield.

General operations manager Melinda Smith and lead architect Gregory Register with GlobalWorks give a presentation on Tuesday on the proposed WaterFall
General operations manager Melinda Smith and lead architect Gregory Register with GlobalWorks give a presentation on Tuesday on the proposed WaterFall Living Community, a 253-unit development for senior citizens that will be located off of East Blanco Boulevard in Bloomfield. (Jon Austria The Daily Times)

Plans call for 150 assisted living units in a four-story, 148,000-square-foot facility, 60 semi-assisted apartment units and 43 independent duplex and triplex units. Architectural drawings show several water features throughout the development.

The four-story assisted living facility would be built first, with the apartments and independent living units to follow in subsequent phases. GlobalWorks plans to break ground on the project by the end of this year. The first phase is expected to be completed in about two years.

Gregory Register, a Durango architect, said he wants to build a senior living complex to address the growing needs of San Juan County's aging population.

"We've basically been trying for like five years to get something like this going because we saw the need," he said.

GlobalWorks is a partnership of Register and Louis Montoya, another Durango developer.

Register said he got the idea for WaterFall after touring similar senior developments for his own mother. He said seniors deserve a joyful place to live.

"We've got to do one of these things that's designed for the living, not for the dead," he said.

Melinda Smith, general operations manager for WaterFall, said the project is estimated to provide 2,000 to 2,200 direct and indirect jobs.

"It's going to impact San Juan County in a big way, not just Bloomfield," she said.

A prospectus for the project says other assisted living facilities in the county are 100 percent occupied, and some also have waiting lists.

San Juan County has a growing senior population.

The 2010 U.S. Census counted 14,083 residents age 65 or older in San Juan County, which is 10.8 percent of the total population. That was up 36 percent from 2000, when the county had 10,326 residents in that age group, making up 9.1 percent of the total population.

Bloomfield civic leaders said they're excited for the project.

"I think it's great," said Bloomfield Mayor Scott Eckstein. "I like the fact that it's one location where they can have the proper care and be housed together in a very nice community."

Ben Lyons, a Farmington real estate agent who is helping to broker the deal, said GlobalWorks is "bringing some true economic growth to the area."

An architectural rendering shows the WaterFall Living Community, a senior living facility in Bloomfield expected to open in 2015. The proposed site for the
An architectural rendering shows the WaterFall Living Community, a senior living facility in Bloomfield expected to open in 2015. The proposed site for the senior community is located off East Blanco Boulevard in Bloomfield. (Courtesy of GlobalWorks)

"It's a fantastic project, and, hopefully, all the chips fall into place," he said.

The property lies along a rural two-lane road and must be rezoned for the project to proceed. It is zoned for agriculture and must be rezoned to neighborhood commercial. The Bloomfield Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to take up the rezoning request at an Aug. 6 meeting.

GlobalWorks is already accepting reservations for WaterFall online at waterfallcommunity.com.

Chuck Slothower covers business for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4638 and cslothower@daily-times.com. Follow him @Dtchuck on Twitter.