Seniors Housing Business

AUG-SEP 2015

Seniors Housing Business is the magazine that helps you navigate the evolution of the seniors housing industry.

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Page 45 of 87

Building a retirement community on or near a college campus seems like a no-lose proposition. After all, older people enjoy the stimulation of the campus envi- ronment. Alums fll the apart- ments. The young students have a place to get jobs and intern- ships. And they can interact with experienced elders. But it's not that simple, says Andrew Carle, an educator and veteran seniors housing operator. He has learned that developers with patience and the correct approach can reap enormous rewards from a university-based retirement community. But, he warns, "If you're in a hurry, don't even start." In 2001, Carle joined George Mason University in Washing- ton, D.C. to launch an academic program for seniors housing management. He had previously owned and operated an assisted living chain acquired by another company. During his time as executive in residence at George Mason, Carle has visited and evaluated many different college-based retirement communities. His con- clusion: Some properties work, and some don't. What makes the difference? Carle distills his insights here, offering the fve cri- teria needed to create a success- ful community. 1 Proximity The retirement community should be no farther than a mile from the campus. Without proximity, the students will be unlikely to volunteer or visit the community. Residents will be less likely to participate in col- lege campus events. "If the com- munity is 15 miles away from the campus, there's no point," says Carle. 2 Programming Residents need access to campus venues and activities, such as fne arts performances, the bookstore, sporting events and ftness facilities. Relationships with college departments of nursing, physical therapy and gerontology, among others, should be established so students can get hands-on experi- ence with elders. The key is to get pro- gramming agreements with the college in writ- ing. "Colleges are huge beauracracies that are hard to work with," says Carle. "Don't settle for a handshake." 3 Alums At least 10 percent of the residents should be alums or have some connection to the university. They bring the culture of the college to the community and they'll demand program connections. Residents at the Vil- lage at Penn State proudly wear the school's T-shirts, notes Carle. "They're having fun." 4 Continuum of care One university built condos for its alums and retiring faculty. What wasn't anticipated was the natural aging in place of the residents who now need a lot of care. Carle says to offer a continuum of care. The university and the developer don't want to be a position where residents, who may also happen to be donors, have to be moved out. 5 Financial incentives While Carle believes that the college should not own the development because it's not in the seniors housing business, some fnancial con- nections need to be in place. For example, the community might make a donation to the college for every alumnus who moves in. Or the facility might hire the college's landscaping department, or share food service providers. Carle's advice: "Don't just grab the col- lege's name. Be fair." — Jane Adler 46 Seniors Housing Business n August-September 2015 opment Corp. If approved by the Seminole County Planning and Zoning Board and County Com- mission, the 338-units project will break ground in mid- to late 2017. Difcult process In California, Belmont Vil- lage Senior Living plans to break ground in late October on a 176-unit rental CCRC at the University of California-Berkeley. Belmont has a long-term ground lease for the university-owned land, which is within a mile of the campus. The community — preliminar- ily named Belmont Village at Berkeley — will offer independent and assisted living apartments, plus memory care units. Rental rates for a unit will start at $5,000 to $6,000 a month. Belmont has a similar com- munity in the Westwood neigh- borhood of Los Angeles, near the campus of the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA). The project opened in 2009. It was not built on university-owned land, but the project has an afflia- tion agreement with the school. Residents attend programs at UCLA and participate in classes at UCLA's Osher Lifelong Learn- "Don't just grab the college's name. Be fair," says Andrew Carle, executive in residence, College of Health and Human Services Assisted Living/ Senior Housing Administration Concentration, George Mason University. Five criteria to a winning seniors housing project on or near a college campus

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