How Concierge-Style Condo Buildings Threaten Independent Living

Some independent living communities’ biggest competitors could soon become a condo building down the street.

That was among the insights shared during a Sept. 13 webinar hosted by Senior Housing News and sponsored by Arbor Realty Trust, a direct lender with 13 branches across the U.S.

In certain places, like Florida, senior living providers are competing with condo buildings for residents—and these condo buildings have some tricks up their sleeves to appeal to seniors.

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“Florida is tricky, particularly for independent living, because every condo development is your competition,” Colleen Blumenthal, managing director of HealthTrust, said during the webinar. HealthTrust is a Sarasota, Florida-based appraisal, valuation and advisory services firm.

The condo buildings that should worry senior living providers the most are those offering services that go above and beyond what a condo association typically offers its residents.

“Effectively, you already have a social group there,” Blumenthal continued. “I look at my in-laws, frankly, who are in a condo where now concierge is doing more services for them.”

More residential properties are popping up across the country that either pose a threat or could soon pose a threat to independent living providers. In many cases, the threat is coming from residential developers that are thinking decades down the road.

“I’m aware of a number of active adult apartment developers right now that are building things for the 55-and-older group, thinking, okay, in 20 or 30 years, we can add a commercial kitchen and evolve as the population evolves,” she added.

Condos aren’t the only type of housing that can eat into senior living providers’ bottom lines. Some multi-generational or mixed-use housing developments are going big when it comes to on-site services, making them appealing places to live for people of all ages.

One forthcoming Miami Beach condo complex plans to offer its residents glitzy services like art studio space, pet grooming and car washing, for example.

Another looming threat may lie in a property type called “Apartments for Life” (A4L) which offers less in terms of bundled services than an average independent living community, but more than a simple age-restricted apartment complex.

Though A4Ls are still far from industry-wide adoption, the concept could take off with operators or developers in the near future, Rockwood Pacific Principal Frank Rockwood told Senior Housing News in July.

Written by Tim Regan

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