Walden Circle Retirement Residence: Amazing Assisted Living in Ontario

In Mississauga, Ontario, aging baby boomers will soon have a new place to call home. The structure is a mid-rise residential community – Walden Circle Retirement Residence (Walden Circle) – in the heart of Clarkson Village. Mississauga, a charming city, is home to a busy international airport, has a temperate climate and has been deemed the safest city in Canada eight years in a row.

Construction manager for the project is Fieldgate Construction Management Limited (FCML), the construction arm of Fieldgate Homes, which was founded in 1957. FCML is guiding the project from concept to completion for Signature Living. The $21 million project broke ground July 2011 and will be completed, with FCML’s expert help, in March 2013.

Senior Center Central

Based in North York, Ontario, FCML draws on the experience of its 50 employees and its strategic partners to assure all projects receive comprehensive attention. Giovanni A. Tassone Arch Inc., out of Toronto, and Michael Spaziani Architect collaborated on designs for Walden Circle. To assure an on-time, on-budget delivery of the project, FCML entrusted the Walden Circle project to James Cameron, one of the company’s senior project managers. Cameron, who started out as a timber frame carpenter, has been in the construction business for 17 years, working as a project manager for about 13 of those.

“We’re building an eight-storey, 125-bed, 160,000-square foot seniors residence,” explains Cameron. “It’s a cast-in-place concrete structure, and it’s clad with architectural stone and brick, and aluminum windows. It has two floors of common areas, which include a bistro, a jazz lounge, a pool, a theater/chapel, garden area/potting room, dining areas and a commercial kitchen. They’ve got a yoga room and fitness area as well. The third floor is the assisted living floor to meet all barrier free requirements. The suites all have kitchenettes, but meals are served in the dining room.” Cameron forgot to mention the hair salon/barber, but it’s difficult to remember everything Walden Circle offers, as the building is truly designed to have it all.

Living Wall

Though the elderly are often concerned with living wills, the standout feature at Walden Circle is a two-storey living wall. “It’s a green system,” explains Cameron. “The water trickles down the wall, where plants are fastened to and planted on the wall. There are stones tiles on the wall and water is filtered through this vertical living wall and sustains the plants. It’s pretty cool. I haven’t done a building with a living wall yet.” The project, though not seeking LEED certification, was designed with features like this and built to meet or exceed local green building standards. The green features are primarily energy efficiencies built into the mechanical systems and other design elements.

These capabilities come with experience. FCML provides primarily commercial property development services, working as a design-build, joint venture and general contractor to coordinate carefully vetted trades in the construction of private and public properties. The company has managed the design and construction of prototypical and atypical small-, mid- and big-box retail stores, commercial condominiums, community centres, municipal buildings, high-rise buildings and other retirement residences. To execute a structure of Walden Circle’s caliber requires a steady hum of quality vendors and suppliers, and FCML maintains a sizable roster of trusted strategic partners. “We work with people who are reputable, who have been with the local industry for an extended period of time,” asserts Cameron. “And we look at their past performance, especially their past performance with us.”

Building in a high-traffic area added complications. “Being right smack-dab in the middle of a low-rise residential area was a challenge,” admits Cameron. “Also, we had close proximity to a busy street on the south side: Lakeshore Boulevard. There are some overhead wires there as well, which prove challenging during hoisting operations. At the onset, we circulated notice to the neighbors advising them of the project and certain details to keep them informed and part of the process. We invited them to the groundbreaking ceremony, as we wanted to show them that this new building is going to be a good neighbor.”

Schedule maintenance is a crucial aspect of the success of any building project. “We set periodic major milestones: reaching grade, completing the roof, and getting an elevator up and running,” reveals Cameron. “Another is installing cabinetry and millwork in the building, and getting the heat turned on in your building. These are tracked and monitored. Achieving targeted milestones is a means to gauging the success of your building. We’ve got a budget that we’re constantly tracking and targeting. This was a sequentially tendered building in series of three, the three being the structure, the envelope and the finishes.”

Generating Strength and Stability

Focused on realizing the profitability of every project, as well as every employee, FCML is coordinating several residence builds at once, applying the same amount of due diligence to all. Every project embodies FCML’s balance of strengthening long-term relationships while delivering immediate gains.

“We’ve got a couple projects on the go,” confirms Cameron, who lists a 40-acre commercial site and a 15-storey retirement project in Burlington. “As a project manager, you’re responsible to not only your own firm and owner, but also to all the stakeholders. The success of the project dictates the success of the stakeholders. Our team generally has a lot of heart, and maintains really good synergy with consultants, ourselves and the owner, and the subcontractors as well.”

Walden Circle Retirement Residence opens in spring/summer 2013, and though it’s in the midst of a vibrant community, its residents won’t have to go out of their own lively walls to enjoy satisfying senior living. Proud to deliver yet another in a long line of exemplary structures, Fieldgate Construction Management Limited exhibits how communities can grow stronger together when led by a proactive partnership.