Why Canada’s Tallest Senior Housing Community Impresses China

Sélection Panorama, a 30-story senior housing project currently under construction near Montreal, Quebec, is noteworthy for being the tallest senior housing tower in Canada—but that’s not all.

It’s impact will extend far beyond Canada, according to Gaëtan Cormier, the senior vice president of development at Quebec-based senior housing company Réseau Sélection, which is developing the project. Réseau Sélection is the largest private sector owner, buyer, developer and operator of retirement communities in Quebec.

“This is, for us, very important, because this was the prototype that we would love to export to other dense urban environments,” Cormier told Senior Housing News of Sélection Panorama.

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In fact, similar projects from Réseau Sélection could be in the cards for other parts of Canada, the United States, and China—a country that has rolled out the welcome mat to the Canadian senior housing developer, eager to learn from and adopt the firm’s approach to senior housing.

Blend in, stand out

In a matter of months, Sélection Panorama will have a total of 286 units, including 32 assisted living units, 206 independent living units and 48 condos, Cormier told SHN.

The large, riverfront community in Sainte-Dorothée, Quebec, was designed to both blend into—and stand out in—any big city.

“It’s a building that’s really a destination,” Cormier said. “The building should look significant from afar.”

To accomplish this, Réseau Sélection borrowed from designs that have been recently embraced by the hospitality industry.

“It’s very similar to a four- or five-star hotel,” Cormier said. “It could be in any great city in North America.”

Réseau Sélection is both developing and building the C$94 million (US$69.9 million) community. The firm will co-own the building with Ontario-based senior housing company Revera, as well as manage the community once it’s open to residents. Revera also co-owns U.S. senior housing giant Sunrise Senior Living.

“It would be very easy to bring this concept to any urban environment,” Cormier said. Senior housing experts in China, apparently, agree.

Headed to China

When Réseau Sélection connected with a Chinese senior housing delegation at an annual event called C2 Montréal, the delegation was impressed with Réseau’s senior housing approach. Before long, Réseau Sélection signed two letters of intent to bring their senior housing ideas to China.

In one instance, Réseau Sélection is going to work on facilities owned by the Chinese government.

“They are asking us to assist them with building code regulations, government policies, management good practices, training and evaluation of the current facilities and to make sure that we have the best use for the land,” Cormier explained. “This is a project that we actually signed a [letter of intent] to assist them on over 300 properties. Work should start this fall.”

In another instance, Réseau Sélection will be working with a private developer to design senior housing for about 20,000 seniors in a suburb of Shanghai. China’s approach to neighborhood design, in many ways, is state-of-the-art, Cormier explained, but their senior housing concepts could use a little work.

“What they do [in China] is overwhelming—they’re doing a remarkable job in terms of infrastructure, trains, highways, airports,” Cormier explained. “Now they really want to address the senior component in the design of the new cities.”

Réseau Sélection could be the key to helping the Chinese get there.

“[The Chinese], both at the public level and the private level, were very excited by [our] concept,” Cormier said. “They really love our multigenerational, mixed-use approach.”

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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