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Proposed Senior Living Community Will Be Horse of a Different Color

David Freshwater of The Freshwater Group describes his trendsetting plans for a mixed-use development featuring assisted living and memory care on a former horse stable site at the southeast corner of Hacienda Del Sol and River Roads in Tucson.


A former horse stable site at the southeast corner of Hacienda Del Sol and River Road is now the site of a proposed mixed use development featuring assisted living and memory care, announced local developer David Freshwater of The Freshwater Group. In homage to the historical land use, Freshwater’s development plan calls for equestrian trails traversing the property and equine therapy (riding and grooming) with visiting horses from across the Rillito wash. But that’s only part of what will make The Haciendas at the River a horse of a different color.

Freshwater describes his vision:

“The outside will feel like an old ranch property with mature mesquites and other riparian canopy trees creating shade for the numerous adobe-walled courtyards. Decomposed granite driveways will lead to each of four, one-story Haciendas. Inside each will be a great room and kitchen along with 14 bedrooms to accommodate 14 to 16 residents. In these four Haciendas, trained Watermark associates will help residents thrive within an uplifting atmosphere of assisted living and memory care.

“On the opposite side of the site will be medical office buildings and an upscale skilled nursing center featuring all private rooms with two state-of-the-art rehab centers that will include a 3500-square foot area for physical and occupational therapies including an indoor therapy pool. The architecture and landscaping will reflect the best of Tucson’s heritage including site features that reflect the influence of local architects like Josiah Joesler and a palette of native plant materials,” Freshwater said.

Freshwater’s track record in senior living make him ideally suited for this latest venture. He has been the mastermind behind some of this country’s most creative, positive aging environments. His first community, The Fountains at La Cholla, opened in Tucson in 1987 and has expanded several times to serve a current capacity of some 400 residents in northwest Tucson. Today, Freshwater and business partner, David Barnes, along with close to 4,000 associates coast to coast, operate 27 communities under the banner of Watermark Retirement Communities.

Working with other known innovators in their fields, Freshwater plans to incorporate the latest senior living trends into The Haciendas at The River:

  1. Hospitality model vs. hospital model nursing care. Rehabilitation patients will liken their experience to a stay at a boutique hotel, with chef-prepared meals featuring healthy yet delicious cuisine, choices of dining venues and plenty of interesting things to do outside of one’s room from taking a yoga class to watching a movie in the on-site theater.
  2. Professionally-managed assisted living and memory care in a home setting. Residents will benefit from the intimate scale and the quality personalized care of a board and care home model coupled with professionally trained staff as found traditionally in a large-scale operation.
  3. Pet therapy. From horses to dogs, cats, birds and fish, house pets at the Haciendas will contribute to every dimension of human wellness.
  4. Healing spaces. Integrating biology with the science of environmental design, Freshwater will create spaces that are naturally healing. Sensitivity to the desert riparian landscape will be demonstrated through rainwater harvesting and gray water systems, passive and active solar systems, and environmentally-sensitive building materials and finishes. Therapeutic programs will include sustainable gardening with on-site gardens, greenhouse and orchards.

“This is truly a legacy project for us, a place where we envision living or rehabbing ourselves when the need arises someday,” he said. “There’s no reason assisted living and nursing can’t look and be delivered in this fresh new way. The Haciendas at The River will be the best and most innovative community in the nation.”

Freshwater expects that assisted living at The Haciendas at the River will cost approximately $4,000 - $6,000 a month and memory care will cost slightly more. The nursing center will accept payments from Medicare and HMOs as well as private pay, starting around $400 to 500 per day.

The project is expected to break ground in early 2013. For more information, call Tracy Quick at 520-797-4000 or visit


 Tucson assisted living
 Watermark Retirement
 innovative senior living
 Haciendas at the River
 David Freshwater

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