Phoebe Ministries announced today it has an agreement to buy the nearly 40-acre Rodale corporate campus in Emmaus and transform it into a wellness-focused residential community for people 62 and older.
Rodale sold its business to Hearst in January, after operating as a magazine, book and web publisher for almost 90 years.
Hearst has said it will maintain a presence in the Lehigh Valley, but it did not specify where. Hearst has said it will continue to publish a couple of former Rodale magazines in the Lehigh Valley.
Phoebe spokeswoman Trina Johnson Brady said the sale is expected to be complete this year. No timetable has been set, and financial terms have not been disclosed.
Work on the first phase of the project is expected to begin this year.
The multiphase plan will begin with the adaptive reuse of Rodale offices, which will be converted into 78 senior living apartments. Additional phases will include construction of more apartments.
Keeping with Rodale’s focus on nature and health, the project is being developed to maintain and enhance the walking and biking trails and green space on the campus while creating new wellness programming to benefit the planned community’s residents and neighbors, Phoebe said.
The plan also includes integration of organic dining options, new fitness spaces and staffing and resident gardens.
“This is a win-win-win situation,” said former Rodale Inc. CEO Maria Rodale in a news release. “It’s a win for Phoebe, who now has plans to reinvent independent living from a health and wellness perspective.
“It’s a win for the Rodale family and all of our former employees who want to see the Rodale heritage stay alive and present in the Lehigh Valley. And it’s a win for the town of Emmaus, who will gain a whole new community of health-minded citizens and a strong partner in Phoebe.”
Phoebe said the on-site child care center on the property will continue operations, and intergenerational programming will be created using the center.