Forsyth County seems to be a good place to retire. Just ask any of several developers of new or planned retirement communities in the area.
One of those developments, the Villas at Canterfield, held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon, with local business and government officials welcoming the project just south of Cumming.
The development for seniors 62 and older is slated to open in 2010. Plans call for 109 independent living apartment homes and 92 assisted living suites.
Developer Winston Porter said many people have asked how they could "finance this thing given what's been going on in the banking industry."
Porter credited several aspects: built-in deposits for homes; waiting till a certain number of homes are reserved to begin construction; and a flourishing senior housing industry.
"Banks still have an open pocketbook for these types of projects," Porter said. "As soon as we get about 50 percent of our residential deposits, we believe we will begin construction."
The development's first residential depositor spoke at the gathering.
"We have looked and looked. We like Forsyth County," Bill Rowe said. "For no amount of money would I return to Fulton County."
Outgoing County Commissioner Linda Ledbetter said she could see herself living in the community at some point in the future.
Porter told the crowd of about 50 that the Villas at Canterfield would set itself apart from other retirement communities sprouting in the area.
"Unlike with some of the other housing developments ... Canterfield residents are individuals living in a quaint and comfortable setting."
Several other age-restricted or retirement communities are in the works in Forsyth County, including Laurel Creek Manor. Officials are scheduled to break ground this morning on the assisted living facility at 7955 Majors Road.
In addition, planning has begun for a 2-million-square-foot Erickson Retirement Communities project, slated for 88 acres at McGinnis Ferry and Bethany roads in south Forsyth.
The age-restricted community will have 1,500 independent living units, 150 assisted living units and 100 skilled care units.