When one thinks about the successful mixed-use projects under development, a few images come to mind. Apartments, offices, hotels and retail mixed together, with stunning walking trails and open spaces integrated throughout. Senior housing, however, is probably not among those first impressions. This has changed, as developers begin to see the value-added that senior living can bring to their mixed-use projects.
Between the staggering rate at which baby boomers are retiring and the growing popularity of active, walkable, mixed-use environments, we are now beginning to see more and more mixed-use senior-friendly developments throughout the U.S.
And, as many boomers are looking to move closer to waterfront locales, investors and developers in the North Gulf Coast region should take advantage of this growing trend and look out for desirable development opportunities. Few areas in the U.S. offer a more attractive, comfortable environment for retirees to relocate, with easy access to all kind of amenities and conveniences in addition to some of the best beaches in the country.
The opportunity for this kind of vertical work-play-live integration is there. It is a growing market, and it is what seems to be selling and attracting people nowadays. Instead of creating baby boomer enclaves, developers should consider getting that synergy in place in the Panama City-Destin-Pensacola-Gulf Shores region, creating environments that appeal to a more diverse population.
The one-stop living environment concept
As discussed in previous articles on current trends on senior living, boomers want more choice as they age. They don’t want just one dining room to choose from. They want to live in a vibrant community that is fully integrated with people of all ages and backgrounds. They want access to more opportunities to socialize, more activities that draw their interest, and lots of variety in terms of amenities.
They want one-stop living environments.
As a result, there has been a surge in urban, mixed-use developments that integrate senior housing. These new developments include everything from restaurants, fitness centers, movie theaters, retail and healthcare to luxury hotels and offices. They have all of the amenities and services that seniors are looking for now and in the future.
Mixed-use development in senior living takes many forms, but they all share an umbrella definition: a senior living community that includes offerings that are open to both residents and members of the surrounding community.
And the trend seems to be toward a “concept hotel” that offers “unique senior-friendly residential products” in an urban environment.
Mixed-use senior-friendly housing: a win-win approach
The inclusion of senior housing in mixed-use projects is not new. However, it used to be a way for the mixed-use developer to land a tenant rather than an intentional part of the plan. Developers now realize that senior-friendly housing should be an important, integrated part of a project and are beginning to capitalize on these trends and earn strong yields in a proven niche.
While incorporating both commercial and recreational spaces into senior-friendly housing projects presents an absolute value-add for the active adult population, this type of mixed-use development is also a win-win for developers and real estate investors.
Integrating the live-work-play concept into a senior-friendly housing development project not only enhances community relations and attracts residents, it also makes the project more profitable.