In April, Linden Ponds opened the doors to its ninth residence building, Willard Square. The seven-story building occupies 156,378 square feet and adds 104 brand-new apartment homes to the growing community.
"Almost all of the apartment homes at Willard Square feature at least one-and-a-half bathrooms, stainless steel appliances, and much more," says Linden Ponds Executive Director Jim Centola. "It is also conveniently connected to Derby Clubhouse by a weatherproof, enclosed walkway so residents can walk right over to many of our fantastic amenities like restaurants and the performing arts center."
When Willard Square opened, 97% of the apartment homes at Linden Ponds were occupied. Management added the newest building in response to the growing demand for the maintenance-free living that the community, built and managed by Erickson Living, offers.
Taking the first step
Earl and Millie Beane were among the first people to move into Willard Square in April. When they learned last year that Willard Square would be opening in 2018, they joined Linden Ponds' priority list—the first step to living at Linden Ponds.
Prospective residents put down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit, plus a $150-per-person nonrefundable processing fee, to reserve their place in line for the apartment home of their choice. The date they join the priority list becomes their priority date, and priority list members are offered available apartments that meet their specifications based on their priority date. Passing on an apartment doesn't change their priority status.
"We looked at the floor plans and decided to reserve a place here in Willard Square because there was a huge number of people waiting to get into existing buildings," Earl says.
The Beanes chose a Summerton-style apartment home, which has two bedrooms, two baths, and a balcony overlooking the Hingham, Mass., community's scenic grounds.
In their early weeks at Linden Ponds, they were enjoying getting to know their new neighbors. Earl says new community members were moving in almost every day in April and May. The staff organized casual Friday morning gatherings with coffee and refreshments to give the neighbors a chance to mingle.
"We're all new here, so people are interested in meeting others," Earl says. "We've been having dinner with a different couple mostly every night. That has been nice and helpful in getting acquainted."
Ready to rightsize
Before moving to Linden Ponds, the Beanes lived in Needham and had a condo in Falmouth on Cape Cod. Although they're only in their 70s and in good health, Earl and Millie decided they were ready to downsize and sell both of their properties.
Linden Ponds' location in Hingham is ideal for the Beanes because it brings them closer to their daughter and young twin granddaughters, who live in Boston.
"They have visited us, and the girls are thrilled to know there is a pool here," Earl says. "They were very comfortable in the water."
Earl and Millie both retired in 2006. Earl worked at Boston University as the director of admissions for the School of Theology. Millie was an administrator with the Needham Public School system and was the director of music at a church in Needham for 40 years.
Earl and Millie were both active in the church, and Millie served as the conductor of both the hand bell and singing choirs. She was excited to learn that Linden Ponds also has a resident-run hand bell choir, which she joined shortly after moving to the community.
Interestingly, the couple who will be living next door to Earl and Millie in Willard Square at Linden Ponds are another couple from their Needham church.
"Independent of each other, we went to reserve units in Willard Square and then learned we were going to live next door to each other," Millie says.
In addition to getting acquainted with their new neighbors, the Beanes have also enjoyed the convenient access to entertainment right on the Linden Ponds campus.
"We go to the concerts they present here, which are wonderful, as well as the meetings and special programs," Millie says. "They have done some good programs, and we'll continue to participate in those."
Earl says he plans to get involved with some of the clubs and committees as time goes on. But he says there are also plenty of informal opportunities to make friends at the community.
"If you just walk the halls or go down to the elevator, everybody you bump into is someone new," he says. "You just meet people very naturally in this setting."
Since Earl and Millie are new to the South Shore, they've been having fun getting to know new parts of their home state.
"We've spent some days exploring the South Shore because we didn't know much of anything about it," Millie says. "We've been to Nantasket Beach and the town of Hull, and today we were out in middle of the South Shore area."