Timberline at Auburn senior housing moves forward seven years after groundbreaking

Groundbreaking for senior living project Timberline at Auburn was more than seven years ago, but the first of what will be eight phases is still under construction.

Matthew Harmon, CEO of Rocklin-based Western Care Construction Company Inc., said the 858-unit “resort-style” project on Bell Road just outside Auburn still could take a decade or more to fully be completed.

“It just takes a little bit of time to get this stuff done,” said Harmon, whose late father Martin Harmon first conceived Timberline at Auburn more than 15 years ago.

Placer County planning commissioners last week approved extending entitlements for the 98-acre project at the intersection of Richardson Drive and Bell.

Western Care has completed 25 villas for independent senior living, now occupied, and work is underway on the other big piece of the first phase, a 168,000-square-foot building of residences and amenities called Hearthstone Lodge.

In addition to 91 units, Hearthstone will have an indoor pool, bocce ball court, salon, bar/cafe, chapel, library and other amenities when it’s completed in late 2024, Harmon said. Move-ins there should start a few months later, with Ray Stone Inc. handling leasing.

Units in Hearthstone range from 771 to 1,441 square feet, and either one or two bedrooms. All units have views outside or of an interior courtyard.

Western Care, which specializes in senior residential projects, is doing a market study to determine the best approach for future phases, Harmon said. The senior housing market has changed since Covid-19, he said, but his company is taking a long view.

“For us, this is a long-term hold,” he said, adding most likely, more villa-type individual units will be in the next phase. “So developing a really nice project for the community is a priority.”

According to the planning commission agenda item, the full plan entitlement includes nine two-story and three-story buildings, villa duplexes, detached villas, two assisted or independent living buildings, residential lofts above retail and medical office buildings and four retirement “common buildings.”

A commercial/retail part of the project includes three multi-story buildings with 33,500 square feet of commercial and retail uses, five multistory medical office and office professional buildings with a total of up to 90,000 square feet of medical office space, or up to 140,000 square feet of professional office space, a recreational vehicle and boat storage facility and two 22,500-square-foot professional office commercial buildings.

Among Timberline’s advantages are its proximity to Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital as well as both an assisted living facility and skilled nursing facility, Harmon said.

The long-term plan for the project will integrate it with The Ridge golf course to serve as another resident amenity, Harmon said. THe Ridge is also owned by Western Care and is only a couple miles east of Timberline.

Though timing for completion is still to be determined, Harmon said, he’d estimate total project costs at about $400 million.

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