Senior housing opening on Memorial Stadium site

Rising four stories over what once was home plate at Memorial Stadium, a new senior housing and skilled nursing care facility is set to open Thursday at 1 p.m. The $12.6 million Green House Residences at Stadium Place will mark the latest addition to the massive redevelopment of the stadium site on 33rd Street, including the busy Harry and Jeanette Weinberg YMCA. The Green House Residences has 48 bedrooms, 12 on each floor, that are located off of a central living area called the hearth. Each bedroom has a large, tiled bathroom and a picture window. Nearby, a modern, open kitchen will welcome seniors as breakfast, lunch and dinner are cooked by trained staffers and served at a large dining table with windows that overlook the new Ripken Youth Sports Park, where the hallowed playing field of Memorial Stadium once stood. Kids regularly gather there for recreation league baseball and lacrosse games. “It’s a radically different way of providing long-term care,” said Nate Sweeney, the facility’s administrator. “We’re de-institutionalizing the elders environment. Families walk in and their faces change. They see what can and should be offered. It’s a wave of relief. It’s hope.” The charge for a long-term room at the Green House is about $299 per day, said Bob Keenan, a spokesman for Catholic Charities of Baltimore. The facility accepts Medicare payments for a post-surgical rehab stay that requires skilled nursing and rehab stays, he added. The project was developed by the Govans Ecumenical Development Corp., or GEDCO, and will be operated by Catholic Charities. The development will produce 55 full-time jobs, and a majority of the workers will come from surrounding neighborhoods. Already, three residents have moved in. The Green House model was developed a decade ago by William Thomas, a geriatrician from New York state and a professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The facility aims to use technology, smaller living areas than most nursing homes and access to natural light and open spaces to help promote a more compassionate, comfortable atmosphere. The 33rd Street location is the second urban Green House facility in the U.S., Keenan said, the first one located in a suburb of Boston. Green House residences first opened in 2003 in Tupelo, Miss., and today there are more than 100 such facilities in 27 states. True to the geography, the ceremonies on 33rd Street Thursday will have a baseball Opening Day theme. There will not be a ribbon cutting, instead, a resident will deliver a first pitch. Hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jacks will be on the menu.