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New Disney Storyliving Community With 55+ Housing Planned in North Carolina

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A master-planned residential concept with 55+ housing linked to The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) is expanding to Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

Known as Asteria, the new, 4,000-unit residential community is slated to see construction “by 2027,” on a site with 1,500 acres of land in Chatham County in Pittsboro, North Carolina, a news release issued Wednesday said.

The project is set to be the second Storyliving by Disney community. The first, known as Cotino, is underway in Rancho Mirage, California, where Walt Disney is said to have owned a home. Cotino is slated to include Longtable Park Residences, a 55+ housing neighborhood with two collections of homes. In October, Storyliving by Disney announced Shea Homes, Davidson Communities and Woodbridge Pacific Group as its first homebuilders.

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Since its announcement, Cotino has garnered “strong initial interest,” according to Disney Senior Vice President and Signature Experiences Emerging Businesses General Manager Claire Bilby.

“The announcement of the Asteria community … will expand Disney-branded communities to the East Coast,” Bilby said in a release. “Our team has been working closely with Disney Imagineers to develop a unique vision for this project inspired by Walt Disney’s innate curiosity and North Carolina’s spirit of discovery.”

In a statement emailed to SHN on Wednesday, the Disney Signature Experiences press office said:

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“We believe that we have an opportunity to fill a particular need for 55+ adults as that segment continues to grow significantly. This is a market that already has a strong affinity for Disney. Storyliving by Disney leverages what we do best – legendary guest service, attention to detail, high quality, storytelling.”

The Asteria project is currently in the beginning planning phase with Scottsdale, Arizona-based DMB Development and Walt Disney Imagineering. The project calls for single-family and multi-family homes, with “some home sites specifically designated for 55+ adults.”

The project itself was influenced by the universities in the nearby Research Triangle and the community “is envisioned as a campus of discovery – a place for exploring and learning,” the announcement states, with the project’s name paying homage to the aster flower native to North Carolina.

“The flower is also a namesake of the Greek goddess Asteria whose tears of stardust fell to the Earth and sprouted the first aster flowers. We thought it was a beautiful way to honor North Carolina’s natural beauty from the Earth to the sky, in our campus of discovery,” Disney Walt Disney Imagineering Site Portfolio Executive Shawn Montague said in the release.

The Asteria development will be situated within the Chatham Park master-planned community by Preston Development Company. Home styles will vary and “line quaint streets leading to a mix of community amenities” designed around the area’s natural surroundings. The community will include acres of parks and miles of walking and biking trails.

Homeowners within Asteria will be part of an amenities club that includes a wellness and recreation center, restaurant, sport courts, swimming pools, community gardens and outdoor space for lawn games, events and fire pits, the release said. The club will offer enrichment programming with storytelling dinners inspired by Disney tales, lessons with Disney artists and family fun days with Disney-themed activities.

Future details of the Asteria project will be released in the future and pre-sales appointments are underway at the Cotino community.
Disney’s entrance into senior living active adult development shows the rapid expansion of the product type as an attractive haven for outside investment, and it shows just exactly what senior living operators are competing against.

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