Phoebe finalizes purchase of Rodale property, plans senior living

Chestnut Ridge at Rodale (Contributed)

Phoebe Ministries of Allentown has finalized its purchase of the former Rodale property at Tenth and Arch streets in Emmaus.

Phoebe purchased the property for $12 million. The purchase deal gave the Rodale family naming rights to the new community Phoebe plans to build there, which will be called Chestnut Ridge at Rodale.

The former corporate campus will be transformed into a new wellness-focused residential property for people 62 and older.

Scott Stevenson, CEO of Phoebe Ministries, said the 38-acre property will be designed with many of the wellness features that Rodale had long encouraged for those who had worked there over the years.

“We thought this was a great opportunity to continue our services to seniors in the community in a way that enriches the mind, body and spirit,” he said.

Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale Inc., said she was pleased with what Phoebe has planned for the property.

“The wellness focus that will be embedded in this new community maintains our Rodale legacy and then marries it with Phoebe, the leader in senior services in the region. It’s a wonderful collaboration that will serve Emmaus well, and my family is grateful to be a part of it,” Rodale said in a news release.

According to Phoebe, the transition to senior living will be carried out in phases beginning with adaptive reuse of the current Rodale offices into 120 apartments.

The current three-story office building will be renovated into one and two bedroom apartments with a center courtyard.

The current one-story office building on the property will be expanded into a four-story horseshoe-shaped apartment building.

As part of its focus on wellness, Phoebe plans to maintain and enhance the walking and biking trails and green space currently on the campus.

It will also offer personal gardening areas for residents.

The onsite child care center will continue to operate. Phoebe said its goal is to have intergenerational programming to benefit both the children and residents.

While the new development is designed for active, independent adults age 62 and older, if assisted or nursing care is needed in the future, residents can receive in-home services or priority admission to a local Phoebe campus that provides the care they need.

Stevenson said while there will be an indoor pool and an exercise facility, Phoebe wants the activities there to be more well-rounded, and they are talking to a wide range of groups, such as the Wildlands Conservancy in Emmaus, to help with ideas to provide enriching programing and activities.

“We’re very open to ideas on ways we can meet the needs of residents,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson said he expects to break ground on the construction in about 12 months and then expects about a 12 month build cycle, so the first tenants could be moving in by late 2020.

Phoebe is beginning the presale process for the new apartments.

Brynn Buskirk, vice president of marketing and external relations, said the presale process is starting now, “Over the last several months we’ve had significant community interest. Now that the property purchase is finalized, we are working fervently on pricing options, floor plans, and amenities. As we establish those details, we will begin sharing them.”

Stacy Wescoe
Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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