A new project taking shape a stone’s throw from Greater Niagara General Hospital in Niagara Falls is giving new meaning to the term ‘living in your golden years.’

Known as the Wellness Suites, the $31-million project now under construction on Main Street is being described as a unique hybrid of a luxury condominium building and a state-of-the-art functional medicine and research centre.

At the official groundbreaking for the 97-unit, eight-storey project years in the making, Wellness Suites Developments president Nick Vacarro said his model turns traditional adult community living thinking on its head.

“(It’s) a totally new model,” he told Niagara This Week. “It’s never been done before”

“We’re going to have a model that is unparalleled,” he said. “We’re going to set the gold standard for what adult community living should be like.”

The building will certainly be snazzy, with a panoramic view of the city from the rooftop patio, a heated outdoor, saltwater pool, a farm-to-table dining room, a wine bar and cave, and various other amenities. But what’s breaking the mould is what Vaccaro believes is the first integration of condo living and the functional medical centre.

“It’s really the key to making this all work,” he said.

People will be able to buy or rent condos and live independently or have assisted living. Those who opt to do so will have access on-site to a multidisciplinary team such as nutritionists, doctors and wellness coach who can do everything from conduct health assessments and supervise personalized exercise programs and rehabilitation to do toxicity tests, offer cognitive therapy and treat core problems of chronic health issues using high-tech science such as genetic testing and analysis of the microbiome of the gut to determine what good and bad bacteria is there, said Vaccaro.

“Medicine is changing at a rapid level now,” he said. “All of the technology that has come along has allowed us to do more in-depth analysis of individuals.”

Vaccaro, a lifelong Niagara Falls resident and practicing chiropractor for 35 years, is also in discussions with Brock University with plans to conduct health-related quality of life research on willing participants at the building to support interventions to promote the highest quality of life for residents.

“We want to make it cutting edge and we want to have research to validate that what we say is true,” he said.

The project was able to be made relatively affordable thanks in part to financial incentives from the city, and a number of investors have invested in the project.

Joseph Trombetta with Titan Mortgage Group of Stoney Creek told This Week that it was an easy decision to invest in the project because it will directly benefit older adults.

“These are the most important people in this community,” he said. “It’s about time that a company took the time to not only invest in affordable housing, but also to invest in taking care of the people who have taken care of us, who have built these communities.”

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said in an interview that the project is “spectacular.”

The concept of a focus on a healthy lifestyle is one that needs to be emphasized more at a time when our population is getting older than ever before, he said.

“At one time you got to a certain age and you were relegated to a rocking chair on the front porch,” he said. “(But) you should be active and engaged right through your golden years.”

“This is not a place for people to act old and be old,” he said. “It’s a place for them to be active.”

Diodati said the project will also help rejuvenate the downtown because mature adults and baby boomers tend to be well off. Having them move into the building could lure everyone from lawyers for estate planning to financial planners and other professionals, he said.

Vaccaro said the Wellness Suites model could benefit mature adults in cities across Canada.

“Once we start the model we’ll replicate it across the country,” he said.

The project is scheduled to be completed in September of 2019. Condo ownership starts at $300,000 while condo rental with assisted living starts at $3,000 per month.

For more information visit the model centre at 5679 Main St. from 1-4 p.m. seven days a week, call 905-357-2004 to book an appointment, email or visit


Paul Forsyth is Niagara This Week’s regional reporter, as well as Thorold reporter, covering a wide range of topics from politics to community and human interest stories. In his 30 years of reporting he has won numerous journalism awards at the local, provincial and national level.

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