Celebrating 20 Years of Living Better
There’s always something exciting going on at Peconic Landing, the East End’s only Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). That’s especially true this year as the not-for-profit organization marks its 20th anniversary with new projects and a yearlong celebration.
Peconic Landing has been home to over 840 Independent Living members in its 20-year history, according to the organization. As a CCRC, Peconic Landing welcomes adults age 62 and better into a single-family cottage or apartment while they are active and independent, enjoying a vibrant community, rich with resort-style amenities, engaging cultural arts opportunities, and hassle-free living. Under the life care contract, members also gain access to award-winning assisted living and skilled nursing care, should they need it, at no additional cost.
Joe McKay, one of Peconic Landing’s very first members, moved into his Independent Living cottage in April 2002 and still resides there today.
“Over the past 20 years, I have had the pleasure of seeing Peconic Landing grow and evolve, just as I’ve grown and evolved,” said Mr. McKay. “When I moved here, I suddenly had the time to read more and to write more, and before I knew it, I was teaching courses and publishing my first book. Peconic Landing gave me the right people, the resources, and the mindset to reignite my passions and reinvent myself.”
The initial planning for the community started in 1996 when founder William G. Thompson, together with a group of local community and business leaders, established the not-for-profit organization Peconic Landing at Southold, Inc. At the time, only four life care communities were operating in New York State and all were based on an entrance fee model. Peconic Landing was the first and continues to be the only equity-based cooperative life care community in the state, offering the potential for owners to earn appreciation on their purchases.
In 2016, the community embarked on a $44 million expansion, which included a state-of-the-art fitness center, art studio, education technology center, and space for new health services. Peconic Landing’s short-term rehabilitation center, The Bluffs, and memory support neighborhood, Harbor South, both opened that year.
Peconic Landing continues to grow and recently completed an expansion to its wellness center, which was supported by numerous member donations. The new Center for Well-Being is open to the greater community and offers services through Stony Brook Medicine, including primary care, orthopedics, and rheumatology.
The community is also embarking on another project: a new dining venue, which will include a bar and expanded outdoor dining space, is expected to break ground later in 2022.
“Here at Peconic Landing, we have a philosophy of innovation; we are always adapting and changing to meet the growing needs and desires of our members,” said Robert J. Syron, Peconic Landing’s President and CEO who has been with the community for 19 years. “We are constantly looking for creative solutions to challenges and striving to be a leader in the marketplace – to raise the bar and to offer a better lifestyle to those we serve.”
The year 2022 also marks the renewal of the community’s certification as a Center for Successful Aging by the holistic wellness organization Masterpiece. Peconic Landing has been certified since 2018 and its partnership with Masterpiece brings extensive research and multidimensional content in the areas of physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual engagement.
“Our members do everything from TRX to teaching Lifetime Learning classes, from volunteering in the local community to traveling the world,” said Greg Garrett, Peconic Landing’s Chief Operating Officer and Administrator. “Our mission as a Center for Successful Aging is to provide our members a lifestyle full of choice and opportunity – a place where they can continue to pursue their interests and passions, and remain active, engaged, and independent for as long as possible.”
That sense of engagement and collaboration, one of the community’s core values, permeates Peconic Landing. There are over 30 clubs and committees, seven of which include both members and management, and they meet monthly to discuss everything from food to finance.
“This community and the culture we have created here would not exist today without our members,” said Mr. Syron. “It was our pioneer members who first championed the vibrant lifestyle and cultural arts offerings we all benefit from today, and it’s our current members who keep us moving forward.”
In addition to its primary mission of serving its members, Peconic Landing is also committed to being a leading workplace and a good neighbor in the greater community. The CCRC is Southold Town’s highest taxpayer, contributing over $1.5 million each year, and is also the Town’s second-largest employer, with over 320 team members. It has been named eight times as one of the Best Companies to Work For in New York in a program sponsored by the New York State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management.
“The staff is the most incredible bunch of people I’ve ever met in one place,” said Joanne Barrett, who moved to Peconic Landing in 2011 and today serves as a member representative on the community’s Cooperative Board. “The dining team is truly excellent, the fitness team is amazing – there isn’t any place here where you don’t encounter really remarkable people, among both the staff and the membership. You can’t buy that – that isn’t bottled, packaged, and labeled. That’s a place that has a unique culture and hires people that are good, and caring, and competent.”
Peconic Landing’s impact reaches further than just the members and team members who live and work within the 144-acre property. Over the years, the not-for-profit community has raised over $325,000 for the Greenport Fire Department through its annual John May Mile and 5K race. It is a major sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association Long Island Chapter and has raised over $35,000 for the organization through the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This year will also mark the tenth Veterans Day Wedding Giveback hosted by Peconic Landing which, in partnership with local vendors, provides a free wedding at Brecknock Hall to current or former military personnel, estimated at a value of $60,000 each year.
With the support of Stony Brook Medicine and Senator Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), Peconic Landing was also the host of the East End’s first COVID-19 vaccine pod in February 2021, with 431 doses administered to those from the greater community during a time when vaccines were difficult to secure on the North Fork.
“Peconic Landing is a community comprised of extraordinary people, neighbors who believe in living life to the fullest and helping others,” said Pat Lutzky, Peconic Landing’s Vice President of Member Services and the organization’s longest-standing team member. “When I was first hired 25 years ago, there was no Peconic Landing in the sense of a structure. We started with raw land and a concept. Now, two decades later, Peconic Landing has evolved into a thriving organization, a good neighbor to the greater community and full of caring neighbors who take care of each other. It is a great place to live and work.”
The community’s 20th anniversary celebration will take place all year long, with events highlighting past and present members’ contributions, including a “Celebration of the Arts and Artists at Peconic Landing” on July 13 which will pay respects to the pioneer members who founded the community’s Art Club and will also include tours of the member-designed gallery spaces on campus. Peconic Landing is also excited to announce the return of the popular End of Summer Celebration and Fireworks Show on August 13.
“We are so much more than a retirement destination,” Mr. Syron said. “Peconic Landing is a place where new chapters begin – where members and team members grow and learn side by side, engaging in life at the highest level and making a difference along the way.”