Cedar Crest retirement community says it plans to break ground on a 25-townhome development in what would be its biggest push for new senior housing since the early 2000s.

Sales Manager Ben Reese said Cedar Crest has a waiting list of residents to buy the homes, which the community plans to build on contract on 5 acres south of its South River Road complex.

Reese said Cedar Crest is still designing floor plans and pricing for the homes, but the company plans to begin site preparations and pre-selling this fall.

Over the next three or four years, Reese said, Cedar Crest will build 19 to 25 townhomes—a blend of single-family homes and duplexes designed for senior citizens. They will be an expansion of Waterford Grove Townhomes, a set of 25 senior townhomes mostly built in the early 2000s before the Great Recession.

Reese said Cedar Crest has seen increasing demand for housing as aging baby boomers look to sell their current homes and shift toward “maintenance-free” townhomes.

The homes are geared toward people ages 60 to 95 and built with features such as zero-step entries, first-floor laundry rooms and walk-in showers—amenities that will allow residents to age in place for years.

“What people want now is a worry-free setup for seniors who are ready to not have to deal with the hassle of a home anymore, basically,” he said.

Reese said all of the community’s existing townhomes are occupied. Based on current demand, Cedar Crest expects to sell the new homes quickly, at a rate of six to 19 homes a year, he said.

“It’s definitely a big, big swing for us. The majority of them were built closer to 2000, before the recession. And then we hadn’t built anything for the longest time,” Reese said.

The homes will be located along South River Road, between King Street and Kellogg Avenue, in a wooded area along the Rock River.

Reese said a current Cedar Crest resident who owns the property transferred it to Cedar Crest, and the city has approved a zoning change from R1, single-family residential use, to zoning that allows townhomes similar to ones Cedar Crest has already built to the north.

Plans provided by Cedar Crest show a new cul-de-sac off Waterford Place that will be named Waterford Court, a walking path that will bisect part of the development, and a pond that will border the Rock River.

Reese said all of the homes will be built on contract, not speculation, and he said Cedar Crest has not secured any tax incentives from the city. But under an agreement with the city, Cedar Crest does plan to extend a public sidewalk along the west side of South River Road between King Street and Kellogg Avenue.