NEWCASTLE, WA - Aegis Living, a leader in assisted living and memory care, broke ground in grand fashion Thursday on Aegis Gardens, the Pacific Northwest's first senior living community for Chinese-Americans and the future epicenter of Chinese culture on Seattle's Eastside.
The groundbreaking event drew several hundred attendees, including former Washington state governor and U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Newcastle Mayor Steve Buri. Several Chinese dignitaries were also present, including Andy Chin, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle, and Benjamin Lee, president emeritus of the Hong Kong and Greater China Business Association of Washington.
"Our vision extends well beyond building a premier retirement community," said Aegis Living CEO and founder Dwayne Clark. "We believe Aegis Gardens will serve as a Northwest hub for honoring, preserving and celebrating Chinese culture."
Nestled on a 7.47-acre waterfront site with access to Lake Boren, the resort-style, 110-home community is slated to open in 2017. When completed, Aegis Gardens' activity center will play host to civic activities, cultural exhibitions and more. The center will also provide daycare services to promote multigenerational engagement. According to Nielson, 92,000 Chinese-Americans live within a 25-mile radius of the Newcastle location.
Aegis Gardens' community programming will include celebrations of Chinese holidays, traditional cuisine representing major regions of China, mahjong, calligraphy, cribbage, Tai Chi classes, a central Zen garden and a tearoom.
Twenty-four hour care will be provided by staff fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. Additionally, Aegis Living's memory care staff is professionally trained to handle the challenges of those living with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia.
The development site in Newcastle, situated a block from the Bellevue city line, carries deep cultural relevance. In the late 1800s, immigrants from China mined coal there, contributing to Seattle's rise to prominence.