Welcome Home
Warwick Woodlands, a new community for boomers and beyond offering exceptional amenities in a traditional neighborhood design, will soon add to Lititz’s reputation as “America’s Coolest Small Town”
by Daniel Sean Kaye

There are few things better than the comforts of living in a small town. The quaint buildings, the tall trees and the positive energy of community members living, working and playing together—all of these factors combine to create an experience that nourishes the soul, capable of making even a bad day seem special. This is the kind of experience residents will enjoy at Warwick Woodlands, a distinctive new retirement community coming soon to the historic town of Lititz, in the heart of Lancaster County.

Reinventing Retirement
An up-and-coming community for adults ages 58 and older, Warwick Woodlands is an extension of Moravian Manor, a premier not-for-profit senior living community in Lititz that opened its doors in 1975. With a “traditional neighborhood design” and an ideal location in downtown Lititz, Warwick Woodlands will offer a continuum of care provided through Moravian Manor. Currently in the pre-sale stage, planners intend to break ground on the property in early 2016. 

Here, residents will discover a style of community that is unique to both Lancaster County and continuing care retirement communities overall. Nicole Michael, corporate director of sales and marketing for Moravian Manor and Warwick Woodlands, describes the community as “a new idea designed to reinvent retirement.”

“People don’t want retirement living the way it was,” she says. “Today’s 55-plus population wants things to be one step better, while still being connected to the continuum of care. Retirees don’t want to downsize their lifestyle, just the maintenance. They want to travel more, continue learning, and develop passions and hobbies they didn’t have time to while working or raising families. They’re all about reconnecting. They want to be part of the community.”

With the first shovel projected to hit the dirt in less than a year, Phase 1 of the community will include residential living in the form of 80 carriage homes and townhomes and a three-story apartment building with 56 units called The Woods. Future phases will add commerce, storefronts, dining venues, galleries and more. The project will not offer anything to compete with downtown Lititz—named the winner of Budget Travel’s “America’s Coolest Small Town” online contest—but rather complement it. Planners designed Warwick Woodlands’ mixed-use construction of homes and retail, restaurants and office space to flow seamlessly into downtown Lititz. In fact, while developing the look, the designers photographed features of the town in order to incorporate them into the design.

“It won’t stand out like many other communities do from the area around them,” says Gary Gaissert, vice president of project management and operations for Warwick Woodlands. “It’s very complementary, architecture wise. We decided early on that Lititz has to be a partner. The citizens want managed growth. The planning commission and council members are open to development, but they don’t want big townhouses. This fits what they’re looking for; it’s very homey.”

‘A Downtown Feel’
“One of our greatest advantages of this project is the town of Lititz,” adds David Swartley, president and CEO of Moravian Manors Inc. “Most communities like ours start in fields, surrounded by lots of land. You have to build everything or travel to get to shops and towns. We didn’t. We started with 24 acres right in the heart of Lititz and then bought small parcels.”

Approximately 12 years ago, planners received word of a large 72-acre tree nursery that would soon be available two blocks from Moravian Manor’s main campus. In anticipation of a future project, they purchased the property over the course of an eight-year period. Although the recession of 2008 slowed progress, economic conditions have improved considerably and pushed Warwick Woodlands well into the planning stage.

“We’re so lucky to be in Lititz,” adds Michael. “It is such a unique place. We’re not out in some cornfield or part of a standalone suburban subdivision. We don’t need to create a ‘downtown’ feel; we already have the real thing. You’re not limited to what our community will offer because you have the entire town of Lititz within a few footsteps. Lititz has come a long way. It’s really booming and has evolved into a destination. They have a pub crawl, festivals and the nation’s longest-running Fourth of July celebration [since 1818]. They really attract a variety of people and interests.”

Lititz also has the famous Wilbur Chocolate Company, a chocolatier that dates back to the 1880s, the Fire and Ice Festival, a farmers market every Saturday from May through October, and a steady stream of athletic events, including a “zombie run.” Also, Moravian Manor sponsors free “Movie Night in the Park” events on Fridays at dusk in Lititz Springs Park, with each screening attracting crowds of 300 to 600 people.

What Boomers Want
“As the boomers mature there will be 10,000 individuals turning 65 every day for the next 18 years in the United States, so we know there is a real demand for independent residential living,” says Swartley. “The key is the relationship to the community. We’re part of the community; we’re a continuation of Lititz. That’s different than most places. The baby boomer population wants that kind of activity and connectedness, and we have it. Lititz has grown so much. It’s small-town America that has survived.”

Warwick Woodlands planners realize that boomers want other things from a community, too, such as wellness, pet friendliness and living spaces with ample room. They also want flexibility. In other words, they do not want to be locked into service plans, according to Swartley. “They want questions answered about their future care needs and easy access to new technology,” he says. “For example, 10 years ago you didn’t have Wi-Fi. Today that’s all part of active adult living.”

Now more than ever before, seniors want more out of life, and Gaissert says Warwick Woodlands intends to deliver. Here, upgrades will be standard, including granite countertops and maple cabinetry in the kitchen. “This is upscale living, with the personalized service they want,” he says. “We want people to have a hometown feel and small-town living. We want to be a community that fits within a community.”

Over the next few years, when Warwick Woodlands finally opens its doors, residents will discover exactly what they’ve been searching for all along but, till now, haven’t been able to find.
For more information, call 717-625-6000 or visit www.warwickwoodlands.org.

Photography by Allure West Studios