When Michael and Marisa Sigala started planning Clovis’ newest senior assisted-living community, they had to decide what to do with the site’s single asset: a large black walnut tree.
Instead of discarding it, the developers saved the tree and hired a local artist to repurpose it.
“They’re going to turn it into spectacular outdoor benches, each custom and each really a work of art,” Michael Sigala said Friday as he watched the artist and his collaborator saw through an 8-foot section of the tree’s trunk.
“What we call urban waste can become really useful and beautiful things,” said Sean Dempsey, artist and founder of design-build company Departure Industries. “For us, as natural builders and artists, we appreciate that materials can be many things.”
Dempsey’s work can also be seen in the House of Pendragon tap room at Willow and Nees avenues in Clovis.
“All of that material is from the family’s farm — every piece of wood in there,” he explained. “Even the chain at the bottom for the foot rail, I took from the tractor. It’s functional art, in a way — a painting that you can live in.”
The Sigalas hope the outdoor benches will add beauty to Magnolia Crossing’s outdoor space. They also provide a sponsorship opportunity for community members who want to be a part of the innovative care facility.
On what was once a ponding basin, Magnolia Crossing is in the midst of construction on the southwest corner of Sierra Avenue and Hwy 168. The project is the first of the Sigalas’ startup nonprofit, Innovative Development and Living Solutions of California, created to offer an alternative to traditional senior living facilities.
The community consists of three custom Craftsman-style homes featuring stone work, vaulted ceilings with dropped lighting, 16 rooms and personal bathrooms, three covered patios and a garage for pickups and dropoffs, said Marisa Sigala.
“Our concept is much like a house,” she said, as she led community members and the media on a tour through the homes Friday during a sneak peek. “You don’t need to walk down a corridor or take an elevator to get to your meal or to the TV room or to meet up with your neighbor. You just open your door and you’re out in the common area.”
The kitchens will feature islands at which residents can sit and talk while a caregiver prepares food — “much like you do at home when someone’s making dinner,” Sigala said.
Each resident’s room has two windows — or three, for a few larger rooms intended for married couples or siblings — and its own heating and air conditioning unit “so that everyone can feel comfortable in their space, because everyone runs differently,” Sigala said.
Other amenities include a common area for games, crafts and other activities, a formal living room with a fireplace and even a beauty salon open to all residents.
The outdoors will have covered patios, a courtyard that is gated for residents’ safety, and a raised garden area for green-thumbed seniors. Animals that fall under the pet policy will be allowed, as long as the senior is able to care for the pet on their own, Sigala said.
“We really want it to feel like your own home,” she said.
The senior living community is unique in both the way it is being funded, and in the pay structure for its residents.
Funding of the $10 million project was guided by Northern California Community Loan Fund in Sacramento using new market tax credits. Funding partners included US Bank, Capital Impact Partners and Fresno Community Development Financial Institution.
Fourteen of the 48 units will be designated for low-income seniors who can use Medi-Cal Assisted Living Waivers to secure a spot. Another 10 units will house moderate-income seniors at a discounted rate, and 24 units will be reserved for private-pay residents.
The aim is to complete construction and have their first residents moved in by the end of the year, Marisa Sigala said.
“Our hope is sometime before the holidays,” she said. “We’ll move them in one house at a time.”
IDLS is seeking tax-deductible contributions from the community to complete key outdoor design features for Magnolia Crossing. Naming opportunities are available.
Visit www.idlsca.org for information or to donate to the nonprofit.
For future resident info, call (559) 825-1735; for project info call (559) 326-2093 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.