Academy Mapleton Hill

Refined Senior Living in Boulder's Iconic Neighborhood

Article by Tony Firestine

Photography by Stephanie Mikuls

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Academy Mapleton Hill is a highly anticipated community for refined senior living, including independent and assisted living residences, that will open its doors summer of 2023 in what is arguably considered Boulder’s most desirable neighborhood. Covering sixteen acres on 4th St. and Mapleton Avenue, Academy Mapleton Hill is within walking distance to the area’s top shopping and dining on the Pearl Street Mall, and within a stone’s throw of some of Boulder’s best hiking trails, right next to the Mt. Sanitas trailhead.

The elegant independent residences consist of apartment buildings and a handful of cottages, all on a sophisticated landscape with stunning views. The grounds consist of multiple dining rooms, a grand hall, an extensive library, a fitness center, a state-of-the-art spa and a 75-foot-long pool. Wellness programs will include yoga, water aerobics, balance training and personal training, all based on the individual resident’s comfort and fitness level. On the stretches of charming walking paths between buildings, you’ll find several gathering places with fire pits and dog-play areas.

Since 1998, Academy Boulder has been serving the community with its Academy University Hill and Academy Bella Vista locations. The new Mapleton Hill location promises to continue to build on the reputation and culture that has grown in their senior living communities. When asked about Academy Boulder’s success, co-founder Gary Berg lists four essential ingredients for success: a commitment to excellent food, small-sized properties, local ownership and iconic historical sites.

The cuisine at Academy Mapleton Hill will be organic and locally driven and will offer a variety of experiences inspired by healthy living. Academy Mapleton Hill will open its doors with Executive Chef Alberto Sabbadini at the helm, a native of Friuli, Italy, who has cooked his way through Venice, Cortina, Sardinia, Switzerland, and Istanbul before being recruited to Aspen, and ultimately Boulder. Culinary Director Fabio Stefani brings more than a decade of experience in owning and operating his Nob Hill Grille in San Francisco. 25 years ago, Joe Romano (The Med, Brasserie Ten Ten, Via Perla) teamed up with co-founder Gary Berg to open Academy University Hill.

“Food is where community begins,” says Berg. “When we opened our doors 25 years ago, we actually knew very little about retirement communities, but we knew the industry had a subpar reputation for food… I knew that with Joe’s expertise, we could do much better and I believe we have.”

Collectively, the entire Academy culinary leadership team brings 155 years of restaurant experience to Academy Boulder.

The smaller size of Academy’s sites contributes to the connection that Academy’s team members make with the residents. Academy University Hill has 53 residences and Academy Mapleton Hill will have 91.

“I know the connection between our team members who work here and the residents who live here is so much tighter because our small size ensures that everyone knows each other,” says Berg. “It really is like family and that, in turn, has led to team member retention rates that defy industry norms. We’ve even been voted Boulder’s Best Employer three separate times.”

The importance of local ownership and loyalty to the Boulder community also play an important role in the Academy philosophy. This new campus marks Academy’s third Boulder location. Jay Hebb, a Boulder entrepreneur and business partner in Academy Mapleton Hill, believes that local ownership generates a greater sensitivity to the uniqueness of Boulder.

“Five of our six partners are long-time Boulder residents, with our sixth partner nearby in Denver,” says Hebb, who procured the Academy Mapleton Hill site nearly ten years ago. “We fell in love with the site. It represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have city open space and historic Mapleton Hill as our only neighbors.”

Academy Mapleton Hill has several structures up for local historical landmarking this year.

“Our iconic, historic locations make it a joy to come to work every day and play an essential role in creating unique, wonderful places to live. It’s been an honor and a privilege to restore and steward these amazing sites,” says Berg.

Academy Mapleton Hill will certainly be a welcome addition to the Mapleton Hill neighborhood and the Boulder community.

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