What was once the site of the Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls is set to become a retirement community.

The government announced the sale of the property which, until its closure in 2009, housed some 2,500 adults with developmental disabilities. Since then, the government had been seeking a buyer with plans for commercial development.

Joe Gallipeau, a residential housing developer in Smiths Falls, has now officially bought the 141-hectare site after the two-year wait.

Plans are now underway to develop a unique community for active seniors. There are already more than 800,000 square feet of buildings sitting on the site, including food-service facilities, a large pool, a gym and laundry operations.

Local politicians in Smiths Falls as well as the town's economic development staff hope the sale of the huge property will help give the town's economy a boost — Smith Falls has suffered the loss of hundreds of jobs in the past three years, following the closure of the Hershey's chocolate plant, Stanley Tools and the Rideau Regional Centre.