Demand for luxury senior living communities rises

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As the baby boomer generation enters its golden years, developers say more of them are opting for a lifestyle that includes all the bells and whistles.

In New Braunfels, two amenity-rich senior-living communities are planned.

Earlier this year, Blake Management Group announced it plans to break ground on a 93,000-square-foot upscale senior assisted-living facility, The Blake at New Braunfels, that will be its first in Texas. Currently, Blake manages 22 similar properties in seven other states.

“Our communities look more like high-end resorts,” said Scott Hames, vice president of sales and marketing of Blake Management Group. “We take food and care and resident activities to a higher level.”

Just a few blocks away, Drever Capital Management is planning for an age-restricted 55-and-older senior-living community called Larkspur at Creekside.

Drever Capital Management co-owner Noah Drever said his company chose to build its third Texas property in New Braunfels because it is the fastest-growing submarket in the state.

“We go to cities that are growing that people want to live in,” Drever said.

Larkspur at Creekside will be located in the Town Center at Creekside master-planned community in New Braunfels. Ashley Strickland, vice president of NewQuest Properties, which is developing Town Center at Creekside, said Larkspur at Creekside will open in early 2021 or earlier.

“We’re trying to build for the demand, and we think [Larkspur at Creekside] is a great complement to our project,” Strickland said

A growing trend

The Kissing Tree is an existing luxury 55-and-older age-restricted community located on Hunter Road between San Marcos and New Braunfels. Offering amenities such as an 18-hole golf course and hiking trails, the development promotes an active lifestyle.

“The [baby]boomers want to live around their own peers,” Kissing Tree General Manager Scott Turner said. “It’s a stage of their life when they’ve given so much for so long, and now they’re ready to start this phase of their life.”

At Kissing Tree, residents buy homes ranging from $300,000-$1 million, Turner said. This year, the development plans to add 130-150 new homes with an ultimate build-out of 2,500-3,000 homes.

According to Iggy Koro, more luxury senior-living communities are being developed in the U.S. each year. Koro is the CEO of SeniorGuidance.org, a website that provides comprehensive resources on various senior-living options.

“As people live longer, they are able to accumulate greater wealth to allow for luxury senior living,” Koro said. “More and more communities are being developed with luxury features and amenities to account for the increased demand in luxurious retirement living.”

Senior-living developments are also attractive because they eliminate the burdens of homeownership, Koro said. The proximity of the living quarters also provides a feeling of belonging.

“We give them a sense of community and essentially a new lease on life,” Drever said. “There’s peers, an active dating scene.”

Meeting medical needs

Although located in close proximity to one another, officials at The Blake at New Braunfels and Larkspur at Creekside said they are not competitors because each offers a different niche.

The Blake at New Braunfels will be fully equipped to handle the medical complexities involved with senior care, such as medication management and memory care, Hames said. Although a licensed nurse will be available at all times, he or she will not wear scrubs.

“We do it with a hospitality feel, so you don’t look like you’re in an institution,” Hames said. “You feel like you’re in a Ritz Carlton.”

While Larkspur will not offer high-acuity medical services, its focus is to provide a senior wellness community that promotes an active lifestyle.

Strickland said Larkspur is at an advantage, however, because the property sits next to Resolute Health Hospital, and convenient access to medical care is appealing to potential tenants.

The cost of luxury living

Hames said residents at The Blake at New Braunfels can expect to spend anywhere from the low $4,000s to low $5,000s per month to reside at the development. He pointed out that all services are included with the monthly cost rather than having to pay for them a la carte.

Koro said the cost of living at The Blake is relatively standard across the board.

“Four thousand is about the nationwide average for assisted living in 2018, so The Blake is priced reasonably,” Koro said. “It is slightly above the Texas average of roughly $3,800 per month for assisted living.”

At Larkspur, Drever said residents can expect to pay a monthly rent of around $1,400-$2,200.

“The most important thing Larkspur does is we provide resort-style living at comfortable rates,” he said. “… Sometimes when you say ‘affordable’ people make the assumption that it’s cheap. [At Larkspur] you get a big bang for your buck.”

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Rachel Nelson
Rachel Nelson is editor of the New Braunfels edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She covers local business, new development, city and county government, health care, education and transportation. Rachel relocated to Central Texas from Amarillo in 2009 and is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
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