By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Up until it closed in 1993, skiers flocked to the slopes of Boston Hill on Route 114.
Now the site is on the verge of acquiring a new life as Brightview North Andover, which will soon be home to more than 100 people age 62 and older.
Residents are expected to start moving in Aug. 26, according to Michael Reed, executive director of Brightview North Andover. The community includes 65 independent living apartments, 41 supportive living units and a 27-apartment neighborhood known as Wellspring Village, where people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia will live.
Since construction began in 2012, the site has been treated in an environmentally sensitive way, Brightview executives said.
“It is important to us to respect the environment,” said David Holland, vice president of development. “The habitats here provide a unique environment for everyone — the abundant wildlife as well as our residents, their families, our associates and other visitors. We are proud of our work to preserve what came before us.”
Of the site’s 33 acres, 25 will remain open space, Holland said.
“The original slopes from the ski resort as well as the adjoining Ward Conservation Area have been preserved and are accessible so people can enjoy them — more than 10 miles of trail networks for walking, hiking, mountain biking, reminiscing,” he added.
Plans also include the re-establishment of the habitat for the frosted elfin butterfly, a species of concern in Massachusetts. The frosted elfin butterfly established a habitat at the summit of Boston Hills when the ski area was open and the trail heads and slopes were groomed and well-maintained, according to Holland.
Because this particular butterfly prefers lots of sunshine and open grassy spaces over dense forests, the habitat was threatened when the ski area closed and the site became overgrown, he explained.
A large portion of the upper ski slopes was returned to a meadow for the butterfly and will be maintained to ensure the area remains habitable for the species, Holland said.
The development of Brightview North Andover also ensures the integrity of the hillside and has introduced a wide variety of native and non-invasive species, some with shallow roots and some with deep roots, to help keep the soil in place and reduce degradation of the hillside, he noted.
Brightview North Andover is Brightview Senior Living’s fifth community in Massachusetts and a sixth is planned for Arlington.