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After he and other development officials were welcomed by the first 65 residents of a $60 million, luxury senior living center in the heart of the area’s busiest retail district, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Vice Chair Willie Durham had a message for them. And it wasn’t about money or investment.

“There’s an African proverb that says we are all sitting in the shade of trees that we didn’t plant,” Durham told the residents at a Thursday ribbon-cutting event. “You are the reason that we’re in the shade, because you planted trees. What we’re trying to do is plant trees for others that are coming behind us, so that they can enjoy the shade as well.”

The Montgomery Advertiser reported in 2018 that Virginia-based Smith/Packett planned to build a sprawling facility for independent living, assisted living and memory care, with the initial construction costing at least $27 million. Their total investment in The Crossings at Eastchase at 2551 Eastchane Lane turned out to be more than double that.

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The 250,000-square-foot community features 195 rooms built for different needs and currently has nearly as many staff members as residents. Amenities include a full-size movie theater, a pub, a spa and fitness center, a library and a commercial kitchen with a restaurant-style dining room.

Smith/Packett’s Will Holmes told the Advertiser in 2018 that the company looks for places in need of more living options for an aging population. “There’s a strong need in the area,” he said at the time. The company usually builds its facilities near retail and commercial development, and The Crossings is surrounded by the stores, restaurants and bustling traffic of the Eastchase retail hub. 

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State and local elected officials joined economic developers and business leaders to cheer the ribbon cutting Thursday. The mother of one of those local officials is among the first residents.

“It’s not only an economic investment in Montgomery,” Chamber President Anna Buckalew said. “It’s a family investment in Montgomery.”

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brad Harper at

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